Near Field Communication (NFC)

external image nfc-peer-to-peer.png
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and handheld devices which establishes a radio communication between devices when they are brought close together or are touching.

How NFC Works

NFC works using two devices that have an NFC chip inside of them. The chip emits a small electric current, creating a magnetic field that turns into a pathway that bridges the two devices together in order to exchange information. The field is recieved by a similar coil in the client device, where it is then converted back into electric impulses to communicate data including but not limited to identification numbers, status information, music, and pictures. NFC has two tags both passive and peer-to-peer. Passive tags use the energy from the reader to encode their response while peer-to-peer tags have their own power source and respond to the reader using their own electromagnetic fields.

NFC works in the 13.56 MHz radio frequency spectrum and uses less than 15 mA of power in order to communicate over short distances usually far less than 20 cm. Tags on average store about 96 to 512 bytes of data and transfer using a data speed of
106Kb/s, 212Kb/s, 424Kb/s or 848Kb/s. This is enough to move small amounts of information virtually instantaneous.

How NFC is used

The potential for NFC technology and what you can do with it is huge. The thing that is talked about most at this time and its usefulness is its simplicity in relation to sharing information. With just the touch of two [[#|phones]] you can share video and music files, projects, contact information
and virtually anything else on one [[#|phone]] that you want to get onto the other phone.

Another huge thing that comes along with NFC technology is how it can be used in almost any scenario once it becomes the standard. It can be used as part of your phone as a pass into a sporting event, your ticket onto a train or plane and even when your buying something at the store. All you do is put your phone with the technology up to or close to whatever is used as the other end of the transaction and it tells you how much is being charged from you or that your boarding pass has worked.

Below is a link to a video that shows how NFC technology can be used in almost any situation in every day life.
History of NFC

Near field communication first became relevant when Nokia, Sony, and Phillips formed the NFC forum in 2004. Their goal was to encourage the use of near field communication, mainly promoting the technology for its ease of use while improving and assuring its security. They invented the standards required for companies to produce devices that utilize NFC.


This first set of specifications for NFC tags came about in 2006, as well as the specifications for "smart" posters. Simultaneously, Nokia released the first cell phone that had functioning near field communication. NFC remained prominent in smart [[#|phones]], but has recently become popular through Android promotions. It is currently more popular in Europe and Asia, but is coming up in the United States and is predicted to come up as a very popular form of providing payment.

NFC vs. Bluetooth

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While NFC and Bluetooth are both short-range communication technologies, they are different in some aspects also.

NFC for example has a data [[#|transfer rate]] of 424 kbit/s and a frequency of 13.56 MHz, and a maximum working distance of about 8 in.

Bluetooth on the other hand, does have the advantage in data transfer speed which is 2.1 Mbit/s and also has a much higher frequency at about 2.4 GHz.

One of the reasons that NFC prevails over Bluetooth is because NFC consumes much less power than Bluetooth. Another great benefit of NFC is that it doesn't require pairing like bluetooth does. This makes touch and go payments very simple.

Overall, its hard to say which one is better, but if your looking for simplicity and distance doesn't matter, i would say that NFC is better.

NFC Security

Is NFC Secure Enough?

Many users argue that NFC may not be as secure as everyone think it may be. Users are afraid to use NFC to share [[#|credit card]] information in order to make purchases.
Smartphone Wallet
Smartphone Wallet

Many experts say NFC really is fundamentally secure by virtue of its extremely short range. In order to snag your NFC signal, a hacker would need to be very close to you. Uncomfortably close. In other words, you'd know they were there. And unless it was a very intimate friend of yours, you'd likely not be happy about it.

You can even use NFC to connect to secure networks without having to enter complex authorization codes. For instance, you may be able to tap an NFC tablet to a [[#|wireless]] router and after the NFC chip confirms your identity, your tablet is cleared to connect to the much faster WiFi signal so that you can get to work.