About the Technology
NFC and Contactless Technologies
NFC technology enables simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices, allowing consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content, and connect electronic devices with a single touch. NFC complements many popular consumer level wireless technologies, by utilizing the key elements in existing standards for contactless card technology (ISO/IEC 14443 A&B and JIS-X 6319-4). NFC can be compatible with existing contactless card infrastructure and it enables a consumer to utilize one device across different systems.
Extending the capability of contactless card technology, NFC also enables devices to share information at a distance that is less than 4 centimeters with a maximum communication speed of 424 kbps. Users can share business cards, make transactions, access information from a smart poster or provide credentials for access control systems with a simple touch.
NFC’s bidirectional communication ability is ideal for establishing connections with other technologies by the simplicity of touch. For example, if a user wants to connect a mobile device to a stereo system to play music, he can simply touch the device to the stereo’s NFC touchpoint and the devices will negotiate the best wireless technology to use.
What does this mean for the end user? Easy connections, quick transactions, and simple data sharing.
Bluetooth wireless technology was designed to replace cables between cell phones, laptops, and other computing and communication devices within a 10-meter range.
Wi-Fi technology was designed and optimized for Local Area Networks (LAN); it provides an extension or replacement of wired networks for dozens of computing devices within a +100-meter range.
ZigBee wireless technology is a standard enabling control and monitoring capabilities for industrial and residential applications within a +100-meter range.
IrDA is a short range (< 1 meter), line-of-sight communication standard for exchange of data over infrared light. IrDA interfaces are frequently used in computers and mobile phones.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags. An RFID tag is a small object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product. RFID tags contain silicon chips to enable them to receive and respond to queries from an RFID reader/writer.
Contactless smart cards incorporate a chip (microprocessor) that communicates with a card reader through RFID technology. Examples of contactless smart card communications are ISO/IEC 14443 and FeliCa, which allow communications at distances up to 10 cm.
Explore how the NFC Forum Specifications can help you make the most of NFC technology here »