Everything you need to know about NFC

Today, most smartphones and tablets are equipped with NFC technology, and the number of smart devices that use this technology is growing fast. Perhaps youʼve heard about digital wallets. But is NFC merely used as a digital wallet to replace credit cards? In this article, we tried to explain the essential details about NFC and its use cases. Here we will try to answer your NFC-related questions.

Everything you need to know about NFC

What is NFC?

NFC (Near-Field Communication) is a wireless technology that allows close communication between two devices. If we bring together two NFC-equipped devices, they communicate with each other through radio waves, enabling the sharing of information between two devices. The NFC operating frequency is 13.56 MHz, which is globally accessible and requires no special license. This technology can transfer data without need to any authentication.

Because NFC technology is derived from RFID technology, there are many similarities between them, but they are different in some ways. For example, NFC uses radio frequencies to communicate just like RFID, but the difference is that NFC range is limited to a maximum distance of 10 cm. Thats why devices have to be very close together for transfering information that also provides higher level of security.

 

How does NFC work?

Listed below are three major ways we already use NFC between devices.

- Digital wallet: To use a digital wallet, you need to install the payment app on your phone. So, you just need to keep your phone next to the card reader to establish communication through the NFC. Then a message will be displayed on your phone asking for a fingerprint or password scan to confirm the payment.

- NFC tags: NFC tags have microchips that store information. NFC allows devices equipped with this technology to read the information stored on these tags.

- Mobile signature: This technology enables you to remotely have an electronic transaction. A mobile signature can provide your authentication information through a mobile network to an online service provider who needs your authentication services. Mobile sign-ups can be done in various ways such as using mobile applications, smart cards or special types of SD memory devices. With a secure memory to store information as well as authentication applications, NFC SIM cards provide a suitable platform to implement a signing solution. One of the use cases of mobile signature is mentioned below:

- Changing orders: Suppose you want to change the services you receive from a bank. To make this change, you must sign and approve the changes you desire. But why should a lot of paper be exchanged among cities and countries for a signature? Or why should you spend time and money unnecessarily to go to the relevant organization in person? Using this feature, you can sign and approve your requests anywhere you are. This will be an important step in implementing e-government.

Comparison of 4 wireless technology

In this section, we describe the 4 wireless technologies and compare them:

- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that allows high-speed wireless communication between compatible devices.

- Bluetooth: The 2 way communication technology is usually used in shorter distances,.

- RFID: Short for Radio Frequency Identification, RFID technology, as its name suggests, works using radio waves. RFID technology is similar to the bar code identification systems we see in retail stores every day; i.e. it includes a tag related to a certain good and a reader.

- NFC: Another wireless technology for interconnecting two devices that has a very short range. This technology was almost overlooked for a while, but with the growth of the smartphone and smart devices market, it regained popularity.

The following table provides you with the general information about these four types of wireless technology:

Technology

Coverage Range

Working Frequency

Data Transfer Rate

Connection Type

Wi-Fi

35 to 120 Meters

2.4 or 5 GHz

144 to 250 Mbps

2 way

Bluetooth

1 to 50 Meters (First class Bluetooth connections would cover up to 100 meters)

2.4 GHz

3 to 24 Mbps

2 way

NFC

Less than 20 centimeters

13.56 MHz

100 to 425 Kbps

2 way

RFID

10 to 100 Meters

Low Frequency (LF) 125 -134 kHz Ultra High Frequency (UHF) 856 MHz to 960 MHz

Differs

1 way

Keyword: NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, Digital wallet, Wireless Technology, Telecomm and Networking

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