Saturday, July 5, 2008

NFC - The new mobile mantra?

Near Field Communication or NFC, is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 centimetre (around 4 inches) distance. The technology is a simple extension of the ISO 14443 proximity-card standard (contact less card, RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device.

What is NFC?
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology standard designed for intuitive, simple and safe communication between electronic devices. NFC communication is enabled by bringing two NFC compatible devices within a few centimeters of one another. Applications of NFC technology include contactless transactions such as payment and transit ticketing, simple and fast data transfers including calendar synchronization or electronic business cards and access to online digital content.

A different world!
NFC makes life easier - it's easier to get information, easier to pay for goods and services, easier to use public transport, and easier to share data between devices. You simply bring NFC-compatible devices close to one another, typically less than four centimeters apart.Thanks to NFC technology, we will be able to "pick up" information from our environment. NFC technology allows mobile devices to "read" information stored in "tags" on everyday objects. These can be affixed to physical objects such as posters, bus stop signs, street signs, medicines, certificates, food packaging and much more. You will know where to find the tag by looking for the NFC Forum "Target Mark" on the object.

Near Field Communication is based on inductive-coupling, where loosely coupled inductive circuits share power and data over a distance of a few centimeters. NFC devices share the basic technology with proximity (13.56MHz) RFID tags and contactless smartcards, but have a number of key new features. Like ISO 14443, NFC communicates via magnetic field induction, where two loop antennas are located within each other's near field, effectively forming an air-core transformer. It operates within the globally available and unlicensed radio frequency ISM band of 13.56 MHz, with a bandwidth of almost 2 MHz.
* Working distance with compact standard antennas: up to 20 cm
* Supported data rates: 106, 212, or 424 kbit/s
* In reader/writer mode, the NFC device is capable of reading NFC Forum mandated tag types, such as in the scenario of reading an NFC Smartposter tag. The reader/writer mode is on the RF interface compliant to the ISO 14443 and FeliCa schemes.
* In Peer-to-Peer mode, two NFC devices can exchange data. For example, you can share Bluetooth or WiFi link set up parameters, and exchange data such as virtual business cards or digital photos. Peer-to-Peer mode is standardized on the ISO/IEC 18092 standard.
* In Card Emulation mode, the NFC device itself acts as an NFC tag, appearing to an external reader much the same as a traditional contactless smart card. This enables contactless payments and e-ticketing, for example.

Coding and data rates
* NFC employs two different codings to transfer data. If an active device transfers data at 106 kbit/s, a modified Miller coding with 100% modulation is used. In all other cases Manchester coding is used with a modulation ratio of 10%.
* NFC devices are able to receive and transmit data at the same time. Thus, they can check the radio frequency field and detect a collision if the received signal does not match with the transmitted signal.
* NFC data transmission is measured in Kilo Bits Per Second (kbps). The NFC standard supports varying data rates, again to ensure interoperability between pre-existing infrastructure. The current data rates are 106kbps, 212kbps and 424kbps.

Acting as a secure gateway to the connected world, tomorrow’s NFC-enabled mobile devices will allow consumers to store and access all kinds of personal data – at home or on the move. Simply by bringing two NFC-enabled devices close together, they automatically initiate network communications without requiring the user to configure the setup. NFC-enhanced consumer devices can easily exchange and store your personal data – messages, pictures, MP3 files, etc. Delivering ease of use, instant intuitive connectivity, zero configuration and smart key access, NFC meets all the needs of today’s connected consumer and creates opportunities for new mobile services.


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