What is Near Field Communication

What is Near Field Communication?

As a set of standards, Near Field Communication (NFC) enables short range communication between compatible portable devices. The NFC standard can be used by a variety of portable devices. A compatible device can use NFC to transmit signal to another compatible device. Likewise, a compatible device can also use NFC to receive signals from another compatible device.

Hence, a device can use NFC just like other wireless data transmission technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But NFC can transmit data much faster than Wi-FI and Bluetooth. Also, a device can use NFC standard to transmit information, images, videos and documents. At present, NFC is being used by a variety of application and devices to send, receive, and process information. Hence, it becomes essential for users to understand important aspects of NFC technology.

Understanding Important Aspects of Near Field Communication (NFC) Standard

Used by both Active and Passive Devices

The devices using NFC can be broadly categorized as either active or passive. The passive devices can use NFC standards to send information to other compatible devices. But these devices do not need dedicated power source. Also, they lack the capability to connect to other passive components and process information.

The passiveNear Field Communication devices are used widely to create interactive signs on various walls and advertisements. On the other hand, an active NFC device can send and receive signals as well as process information. It can even connect with both active and passive NFC devices. At present, active NFC devices are implemented by various smartphones, touch payment terminals, and mobile wallets.

Different from Other Wireless Signals

Many devices useNear Field Communication a standard for wireless data transmission just like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But NFC transmits signal over the radio wave. Also, it uses a technology which is developed based on conventional RFID (Radio-frequency identification) ideas. The technology transmits signals and information through electromagnetic induction. The technology further differentiates NFC from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Unlike Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Near Field Communication can transmit data and signal to passive devices. As the passive components do not have their own power source, they avail power through the electromagnetic field produced by an active NFC component. However, the passive devices can avail power only when they come into range. However, the inductance produced by NFC is not adequate to perform complex tasks like charging mobile devices.

Data Transmission Frequency and Modes

Unlike other wireless data transmission standards, Near Field Communication delivers a data transmission frequency of 13.56 megahertz. It further enables devices to transmit data at 106, 202, or 424 kilobits per second. The data transmission speed enables devices to transmit text, images, and videos quickly. Many devices nowadays use NFC to transmit contact information of users in a fast and efficient way. NFC further accelerates transmission of varying information by providing three distinct modes of operation.

Based on the data to be transmitted, a compatible device can use a specific operating mode – peer-to-peer, reader/writer and card emulation. The compatible devices can use peer-to-peer mode to exchange data and information, whereas reader/writer mode enables compatible devices to read the NFC Forum-mandated tag types. At the same time, the card emulation mode makes the NFC device function just like a conventional contactless smart card. Hence, a device can transmit a variety of information using the right data transmission mode.

Common Usage

As mentioned earlier, Near Field Communication is currently used by both active and passive devices. A compatible device can further transmit precise information through NFC through the right transmission mode. That’s why; many applications and devices nowadays use NFC to speed up wireless data transmission. At present, NFC standard is used by major wallets and mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Samsung Pay to transmit customer data. In one of my previous blogs, I had tried to compare PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Many digital advertisements and posters also use NFC to provide additional content and updated information to customers.

Many mobile device manufacturers even use NFC to enable users to perform common tasks like sending a phone number, picture, or document; recommend apps to other users; explain and send direction to others; and make payment. Likewise, many toymakers nowadays embed NFC chips in to keep the users engaged and entertained. Also, several companies have started embedding NFC chips into various home appliances and equipments to make their smarter and connected. Hence, many analysts believe that NFC has the capability to transform varying devices and applications.

A steady increase is noted in the number of devices using Near Field Communication tags. That is why mobile app developers should understand various aspects of it so that they can implement the required functionalities in their apps. A NFC tag contains the NFC chip and can be embedded into varying devices as tags or stickers. But all devices currently do not use NFC tags. Hence, the devices are not compatible with each other. Also, the compatible devices must be in the covered range to transmit signals and data through NFC. However, NFC is currently used by large enterprises as a robust standard to accelerate data transmission.

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