NFC is a technology for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity
BANGALORE, INDIA: Near field communication or NFC is not a new technology and has been around us for almost a decade now. However, of late it has become more prevalent in usage with the latest range smartphones that come integrated with it, including the yet to be launched Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X.
NFC is a technology for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.
It is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. The technology operates at 13.56 MHz on ISO/IEC 18000-3 air interface and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 424 kbit/s.
NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is possible, provided both devices are powered.
NFC tags contain data and are typically read-only but may be rewritable. They can be custom-encoded by their manufacturers or use the specifications provided by the NFC Forum, an industry association charged with promoting the technology and setting key standards.
The NFC Forum defines four types of tags which provide different communication speeds and capabilities in terms of configurability, memory, security, data retention and write endurance. Tags currently offer between 96 and 4,096 bytes of memory.
Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, and simplified set-up of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi. Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a "tag".
NFC standards cover communications protocols and data exchange formats, and are based on existing radio-frequency identification (RFID) standards including ISO/IEC 14443 and FeliCa. The standards include ISO/IEC 18092 and those defined by the NFC Forum, which was founded in 2004 by Nokia, Philips and Sony, and now has more than 160 members.
NFC builds upon Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems by allowing two-way communication between endpoints, where earlier systems such as contactless smart cards were one-way only. Since unpowered NFC "tags" can also be read by NFC devices, it is also capable of replacing earlier one-way applications.