The NFC Forum Specifications form a technology standard that harmonizes and extends existing contactless standards unlocking the full capabilities of NFC technology across the different contactless operating modes, peer-to-peer mode, reader/writer mode, card emulation mode.
NFC Forum Specifications
Build Solutions and Ensure the Global Interoperability
To discover the different types of NFC Forum Specifications that enable these operating modes, click on the appropriate link below:
- Core Protocol
- Tag Type
- P2P Protocol
- Record Type Definition
- Data Exchange Format
- Wireless Charging
- NFC Controller Interface
Logical Link Control Protocol Technical Specification
Defines an OSI layer-2 protocol to support peer-to-peer communication between two NFC-enabled devices, which is essential for any NFC applications that involve bi-directional communications. The specification defines two service types, connectionless and connection-oriented, organized into three link service classes: connectionless service only; connection-oriented service only; and both connectionless and connection-oriented service. The connectionless service offers minimal setup with no reliability or flow-control guarantees (deferring these issues to applications and to the reliability guarantees offered by ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 14443 MAC layers). The connection-oriented service adds in-order, reliable delivery, flow-control, and session-based service layer multiplexing.
LLCP is a compact protocol, based on the industry standard IEEE 802.2, designed to support either small applications with limited data transport requirements, such as minor file transfers, or network protocols, such as OBEX and TCP/IP, which in turn provide a more robust service environment for applications. The NFC LLCP thus delivers a solid foundation for peer-to-peer applications, enhancing the basic functionality offered by ISO/IEC 18092, but without affecting the interoperability of legacy NFC applications or chipsets.
Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol Technical Specification
The Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol (SNEP) allows an application on an NFC-enabled device to exchange NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) messages with another NFC Forum device when operating in NFC Forum peer-to-peer mode. The protocol makes use of the Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP) connection-oriented transport mode to provide a reliable data exchange.
NFC Data Exchange Format
The NFC Data Exchange Format Technical Specification provides a standard format for NFC application data and RTD specifications specify the format and rules for building standard record types used by NFC Forum application definitions and third parties that are based on the NDEF data format. Application level specifications are important for use cases that require an exchange of control information, such as smart posters and remote control, because message format is defined and issues that must be considered for implementation are addressed. The RTD specifications provide a way to efficiently define record formats for new applications and gives users the opportunity to create their own applications based on NFC Forum specifications.
Connection Handover (CH) Technical Specification 1.5
The updated version of the NFC Forum Connection Handover Technical Specification (CH 1.5) is the first NFC Forum specification to take advantage of TNEP. By defining the messaging structure for how negotiated handover operates with a reader/writer and an NFC tag device, CH 1.5 creates the possibility for the development of new solutions pairing NFC with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi when the data to be transferred is large or streamed for a long time. Examples include Bluetooth audio streaming or transfer of a photo between a digital camera or a smartphone over Wi-Fi. Previously, negotiated handover was limited to a P2P connection. CH 1.5 can now use TNEP to allow an additional negotiated handover for a connection between a reader/writer and NFC tag device providing users more control over how they gather and share their information between devices, thereby increasing the security of paired connections. Negotiated Handover using the Reader/Writer mode will be for example used by the new ISO/IEC 18013-5 standard defining the sharing mechanism for mobile driving licensees.
A device level specification, the NFC Controller Interface (NCI) Technical Specification defines the interface between an NFC Controller (NFCC) and a Device Host (DH) and addresses issues that must be considered for implementation.
The specifications for the NFC Forum Type 1/2/3/4/5 Tags provide the technical information needed to implement the reader/writer and associated control functionality of the NFC device to interact with the tags. The new TNEP 1.0 Technical Specification supports the bi-directional exchange of NDEF messages based on the communication protocol used by the NFC Forum Tag devices of Type 2, 3, 4 and 5. The aim of these specifications is to define how NDEF messages are read from and written to NFC tags.
Type 1 Tag Specification
Defines how an NFC-enabled device in Reader/Writer Mode detects, reads and writes a NDEF Message on a NFC Forum Type 1 Tag. The communication with this NFC Forum Tag type is based on NFC-A Technology.
Type 2 Tag Specification
Defines how an NFC-enabled device in Reader/Writer Mode detects, reads and writes a NDEF Message on a NFC Forum Type 2 Tag. The communication with this Forum Tag type is based on NFC-A Technology.
Type 3 Tag Specification
Defines how an NFC-enabled device in Reader/Writer Mode detects, reads and writes a NDEF Message on a NFC Forum Type 3 Tag. The communication with this Forum Tag type is based on NFC-F Technology, which is compatible to the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) X 6319-4.
Type 4 Tag Specification
Defines how an NFC-enabled device in Reader/Writer Mode detects, reads and writes a NDEF Message on a NFC Forum Type 4 Tag. The communication with this Forum Tag type is based on the ISO Data Exchange Protocol (ISO-DEP) which is fully compatible with the ISO/IEC 14443 standard series. This protocol is either based on NFC-A or NFC-B Technology
Type 5 Tag Technical Specification
Defines how an NFC-enabled device in Reader/Writer Mode detects, reads and writes a NDEF Message on a NFC Forum Type 5 Tag. The communication with this NFC Forum Tag type is based on NFC-V Technology.
Tag NDEF Exchange Protocol (TNEP) Technical Specification
The TNEP 1.0 Technical Specification supports the bi-directional exchange of NDEF messages based on the communication protocol used by the NFC Forum Tag devices of Type 2, 3, 4 and 5. The new TNEP protocol offers a simple protocol for NFC IoT devices to exchange data between an NFC enabled phone and the IoT Device. For example, this protocol can be used to configure and read smart meter devices, to control the thermostatic radiator valve or to configure the lightning device in your smart home.
Specifies the format and rules for building standard record types used by NFC Forum application definitions and third parties that are based on the NDEF data format. The RTD specification provides a way to efficiently define record formats for new applications and gives users the opportunity to create their own applications based on NFC Forum specifications.
Provides an efficient way to store text strings in multiple languages by using the RTD mechanism and NDEF format. An example of using this specification is included in the Smart Poster RTD.
Provides an efficient way to store Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) by using the RTD mechanism and NDEF format. An example of using this specification is included in the Smart Poster RTD.
Defines an NFC Forum Well Known Type to put URLs, SMSs or phone numbers on an NFC tag, or to transport them between devices. The Smart Poster RTD builds on the RTD mechanism and NDEF format and uses the URI RTD and Text RTD as building blocks.
NFC Generic Control RTD Technical Specification
NFC Forum-TS-Generic Control RTD_1.0 has been withdrawn with no replacement.
Specifies the format used when signing single or multiple NDEF records. Defines the required and optional signature RTD fields, and also provides a list of suitable signature algorithms and certificate types that can be used to create the signature. Does not define or mandate a specific PKI or certification system, or define a new algorithm for use with the Signature RTD. Specification of the certificate verification and revocation process is out of scope.
Defines the Device Information record type which conveys fundamental model and identity identification information.
NFC Forum Application Documents are informative technical documents designed to promote NFC solutions in vertical markets and to foster best practices, by describing proposed solutions based on NFC Forum specifications.
Bluetooth Secure Simple Pairing Using NFC
This Application Document describes the interaction of Bluetooth technology and NFC during SSP in detail. It provides examples of both negotiated and static handover in the most feasible use cases involving the presence of both technologies. Developers will find the examples useful guides for their own work. The document has now been expanded (in June 2014) to include descriptions of how to use NFC for fast and easy Bluetooth low energy out-of-band (OOB) pairing, a key capability of Bluetooth Smart, a version of Bluetooth wireless technology that offers considerably reduced power consumption.
The updated Application Document published in June 2019 supports also Bluetooth devices implemented according the Bluetooth Core Specification 5.1 and is extended for Bluetooth Low Energy.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup using NFC technology
The Wi-Fi Protected Setup using NFC technology can be found in the Wi-Fi Simple Configuration Technical Specification on the Wi-Fi Alliance website. Similar to the mechanism described in the Bluetooth Secure Simple Pairing Application Document, the mechanism of the Wi-Fi Protected Setup is based on the Connection Handover Technical Specification from the NFC Forum.
Candidate Technical Specifications
NFC Forum Candidate Technical Specifications are very mature technical specifications whose final adoption is delayed so as to allow verification of its quality, to progress on related test specifications, or the like. Candidate Technical Specifications have different licensing restrictions than adopted Technical Specifications. Companies that are not members of the NFC Forum can purchase candidate specs and offer feedback, and will be provided the final adopted spec at no charge.
NFC Money Transfer (NMT) Candidate Technical Specification
The NFC Money Transfer (NMT) Specification defines the functions that enable two NFC Forum Devices to transfer money – such as passing money to an individual or paying a bill in a convenience store. This specification defines Money Transfer (MT) protocols, the corresponding message structures for those protocols, and the NFC Forum Well Known Types used in those messages.
The NMT Specification gives payment service providers and consumers the opportunity to take advantage of the simple and secure NFC-based payment solutions already in use worldwide as an alternative to QR code-based solutions. The NMT solution improves the speed and efficiency of the payment process by eliminating the need for a camera or scanner used in QR code-based solutions. It provides an open framework which can be easily used by payment service providers to map their already defined data exchange for QR code-based payment solutions with NFC communication. The specification works between all NFC-enabled devices such as smartphones, readers and tags.