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The rapid development of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology creates the challenge of optimal deployment of an RFID network. The RFID network planning (RNP) problem involves many constraints and objectives and has been proven to be NP-hard. The use of evolutionary computation (EC) and swarm intelligence (SI) for solving RNP has gained significant attention in the literature, but the algorithms proposed have seen difficulties in adjusting the number of readers deployed in the network. However, the number of deployed readers has an enormous impact on the network complexity and cost. In this paper, we develop a novel particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm with a tentative reader elimination (TRE) operator to deal with RNP. The TRE operator tentatively deletes readers during the search process of PSO and is able to recover the deleted readers after a few generations if the deletion lowers tag coverage. By using TRE, the proposed algorithm is capable of adaptively adjusting the number of readers used in order to improve the overall performance of RFID network. Moreover, a mutation operator is embedded into the algorithm to improve the success rate of TRE. In the experiment, six RNP benchmarks and a real-world RFID working scenario are tested and four algorithms are implemented and compared. Experimental results show that the proposed algorithm is capable of achieving higher coverage and using fewer readers than the other algorithms.