Published on March 8, 2014
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Introduction Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few inches.
History • NFC traces its roots back to radio-frequency identification, or RFID. RFID allows a reader to send radio waves to a passive electronic tag for identification, authentication and tracking. • 2004 Nokia, Philips and Sony established the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum. • 2006 Initial specifications for NFC Tags. • 2006 Nokia 6131 was the first NFC phone. • 2009 In January, NFC Forum released Peer-to-Peer standards to transfer contact, URL, initiate Bluetooth, etc. • 2010 Samsung Nexus S: First Android NFC phone shown. • 2013 Samsung and Visa announce major partnership to develop mobile payments
NFC standards • NFC was approved as an ISO/IEC standard on December 8, 2003 and later as an ECMA standard. • ISO/IEC 18092 / ECMA-340 - Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol-1 (NFCIP). • ISO/IEC 21481 / ECMA-352 - Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol-2 (NFCIP-2). • NFC incorporates a variety of existing standards including ISO/IEC 14443. • In addition, the NFC Forum has defined a common data format called NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF).
Working • As with proximity card technology, near-field communication uses magnetic induction between two loop antennas located within each other's near field, effectively forming an air-core transformer. • 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. • Most of the RF energy is concentrated in the allowed ±7 kHz bandwidth range, but the full spectral envelope may be as wide as 1.8 MHz when using ASK modulation.
Specifications • NFC is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 10 cm or less. • NFC operates at 13.56 MHz on ISO/IEC 18000-3 air interface and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 424 kbit/s. • It operates within the globally available and unlicensed radio frequency ISM band of 13.56 MHz. • Theoretical working distance with compact standard antennas: up to 20 cm (practical working distance of about 4 cm). • Supported data rates: 106, 212 or 424 kbit/s (the bit rate 848 kbit/s is not compliant with the standard ISO/IEC 18092). • NFC devices are able to receive and transmit data at the same time.
Communication Mode • Passive communication mode • Active communication mode
Passive Communication Mode • The initiator device provides a carrier field and the target device answers by modulating the existing field. • In this mode, the target device may draw its operating power from the initiator-provided electromagnetic field, thus making the target device a transponder.
Active Communication Mode • Both initiator and target device communicate by alternately generating their own fields. • A device deactivates its RF field while it is waiting for data. • In this mode, both devices typically have power supplies.
Speed Active device Passive device 424 kbit/s Man, 10% ASK Man, 10% ASK 212 kbit/s Man, 10% ASK Man, 10% ASK 106 kbit/s Modified Miller, 100% ASK Man, 10% ASK
Modes of operation There are three modes of operation for NFC. • The read/write mode allows an NFC device to read a tag like the kind you'd find in a poster. • The peer-to-peer mode makes it possible for two NFC-enabled devices to exchange information. This lets you do things like tap your phone to another person's phone to exchange contact information. • The card emulation mode lets NFC emulate -- or imitate -- a smart card like the kind you use in public transportation or ticketing systems.
Comparison with Bluetooth Aspect RFID compatible NFC Bluetooth Bluetooth Low Energy ISO 18000-3 active active ISO/IEC Bluetooth SIG Bluetooth SIG ISO 13157 etc. IEEE 802.15.1 IEEE 802.15.1 Network Type Point-to-point WPAN WPAN Cryptography not with RFID available available < 0.2 m ~100 m (class 1) ~50 m Frequency 13.56 MHz 2.4–2.5 GHz 2.4–2.5 GHz Bit rate 424 kbit/s 2.1 Mbit/s 25 Mbit/s < 0.1 s <6s < 0.006 s < 15mA (read) varies with class < 15 mA (read and transmit) Standardisation body Network Standard Range Set-up time Power consumption
Advantages over Bluetooth • NFC operates at slower speeds than Bluetooth, but consumes far less power and doesn't require pairing. • NFC sets up more quickly than standard Bluetooth, but has a lower transfer rate than Bluetooth low energy. • With NFC, instead of performing manual configurations to identify devices, the connection between two NFC devices is automatically established quickly: in less than a tenth of a second. • In contrast to Bluetooth, NFC is compatible with existing passive RFID (13.56 MHz ISO/IEC 18000-3) infrastructures.
Uses • Commerce- contactless payment systems • Social networking - NFC can be used in social networking situations, such as sharing contacts, photos, videos or files, and entering multiplayer mobile games. • Identity and access tokens - act as electronic identity documents and keycards • Smartphone automation and NFC tags - Smartphones equipped with NFC can be paired with NFC Tags or stickers which can be programmed by NFC apps to automate tasks.
Security Aspects • Eavesdropping • Data modification • Relay attack • Lost property • Walk-off
NFC-enabled OS and Services • BlackBerry OS 7.0 and greater • Android • Nokia Series 40,Symbian • Windows Phone 8, as well as the Windows 8 operating system • Wallet hub- Microsoft • Google Wallet- Google • Isis Wallet- Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile • Video game controllers- Wii U home console
Advantages of NFC Convenience • NFC is a perfect source of convience because it merges a mobile device with wallet(s). Versatility • NFC can be well adapted for all kinds of situations ranging from bank cards to transit passes, movie passes, reward systems and even keys. Safety • NFC enabled credit cards are much more secure than a credit card magnetic strip • Requires PIN • Retailers no longer have physical access to your credit card information
Disadvantages of NFC Company Agreements to use NFC • if companies do not agree to integrate NFC into their business, consumers will not be able to use the technology. Security • Examples include a phone’s owner credit card information, bill payments, social security information, etc. • Moreover, as technology advances, it will becomes easier for hackers to do this.
Alternatives to NFC Digital Wallet The 'digital wallet' exists in the cloud, and it is not tethered to one specific device such as a mobile phone, but accessible from a variety of devices such as laptop, iPad, ultrabook or even Xbox.
Conclusion The world haven't moved toward an NFC-based transaction system yet. Part of the problem may be that different financial institutions want to establish their own payment standards and retail organizations must choose which ones to support. It could be a few more years before we see this tech rolled out into our neighborhood stores.
References • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication • http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/near-fieldcommunication6.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFC-enabled_mobile_devices • http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/whatis-nfc-and-why-is-it-in-your-phone-948410 • http://near-field.blogspot.in/p/pros-cons.html
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