Today's RFID systems exhibit relatively little functionality, while future systems and ubiquitous computing applications require an ample set of general purpose features, like wide communication ranges, high data rates, high reliability, and many more. In order to meet these high-performance goals, several challenges in state of the art RFID systems need to be managed: (1) the compatibility of RFID equipment, working according to different standards in various frequency domains, (2) the thorough understanding of the performance impact of physical layer system parameters, (3) the venture of novel wireless technologies in the context of RFID, and finally, (4) to deal with the increased complexity of high-performance RFID systems. Therefore, designers desire a highly configurable, flexible, and high-performance RFID environment to experimentally explore the underlying physical conditions and to evaluate novel RFID technologies and designs. This paper introduces the concept of rapid prototyping in RFID and provides a survey of system simulators, demonstrators, and rapid prototyping environments. A guideline for the setup for such a rapid prototyping system applicable for RFID is presented, and its implementation is demonstrated. Finally, some exemplary measurements carried out with this rapid prototyping system are presented.