Overview #

NFC stands for Near Field Communication a standard defined by the NFC Forum, a global consortium of hardware, software, credit-card, banking, network-providers and others who are interested in the advancement and standardizing this technology.

Near Field Communication, As the name implies, is a set of short-range wireless communication standards typically used in mobile phones and other electronic devices.

NFC operates on the frequency of 13.56 MHz with data transfer of up to 424 kilobits per second.

NFC standards exist to ensure all forms of near field communication technology can interact with other NFC compatible devices and will work with newer devices in the future. Two major specifications exist for NFC technology:

  • ISO/IEC 14443 - specifies the ID cards used to store information, such as that found in NFC tags
  • ISO 18000-3 - an international standard for all devices communicating wirelessly at the 13.56MHz frequency using Type A or Type B cards which includes both NFC and RFID communication.

NFC and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) are sometimes used interchangeably, but pagename is really an extension of RFID. RFID waves can have very long ranges as they are generally used in manufacturing, inventory and object tracking. In contrast, NFC limits the range of communication to within 2 to 4 inches. This makes NFC more suitable for secure applications like payments.

NFC has three standard modes of operation:[2]

  • reader/writer (R/W) mode, allowing for accessing external NFC tags
  • peer-to-peer (P2P) mode, allowing for data exchange between two NFC devices
  • card emulation (CE) mode- (also called NFC target) which allows the device to act like a credential.

Each full NFC device can work in 3 modes:[1]

  • NFC target (acting like a credential)
  • NFC initiator (as a reader)
  • NFC peer to peer.

NFC allows you to share small payloads of data between an NFC tag and an NFC enabled devices or between two NFC enabled devices.

NFC vs Bluetooth#

NFC may sound more like Bluetooth because it is also a communication technology between two Bluetooth enabled devices over a short range. They are similar in that aspect, but they are also different in other aspects. For instance, NFC does
  • NOT need a pairing process
  • can read from passive NFC tags
  • consumes low power
  • connects to its target very quickly ( one tenth of a second)
These qualities make NFC a good candidate for mobile payments.

More Information#

There might be more information for this subject on one of the following:

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« This page (revision-6) was last changed on 20-Apr-2015 13:13 by jim