The history of NFC technology dates back to 1983. Then the electrical engineer Charles Walton received a patent for a "portable radio frequency emitter-identifier". Almost 20 years later, in March 2004, Nokia, Sony and Royal Philips Electronics organized the NFC Forum, a non-profit association for the standardization and promotion of NFC technology. In 2006, the first NFC specification appeared and the first commercial phone with the NFC chip, the Nokia 6131, was released. In 2011, Google joined the NFC Forum. Now this technology is supported by a large number of mobile devices running iOS and Android. How does it work – about this in today's issue!
So, NFC is a wireless short-distance technology that operates at a frequency of 13.56 MHz, used for industrial, medical and scientific purposes. NFC is a logical extension of RFID technology, and its main difference is the limited range. While the distance reading RFID tags can reach several hundred meters, NFC tags are available within 10 centimeters. NFC always has an initiator and a goal. The initiator actively generates an RF field that can affect the passive target. An NFC connection is also possible between the two devices, provided both devices are turned on. With compact dimensions and low power consumption, NFC can be used in small gadgets.
NFC uses coding with a different modulation factor for data transmission, depending on the data rate. In this case, NFC devices are able to simultaneously receive and transmit data. Thus, they can monitor the radio frequency field and detect inconsistencies if the received signal does not correspond to the transmitted signal.
Currently, there are three main areas of application of NFC. The first and most common is card emulation for contactless payments. A smartphone supporting NFC can impersonate a bank card or a subway ticket. In this case, the data of bank cards are stored not in the phone's memory, but on a special chip similar to that used in EMV cards. It encrypts all data, manages the authentication process, and starts payment transactions.
NFC technology has been actively developed not only in the banking sector. It is also used for electronic tickets. For example, in Moscow, you can pay for public transport by attaching the phone to the turnstile, or even record your travel card directly into the smartphone.
The second field of application for NFC is the reader mode. In this mode, the smartphone acts as a scanner of NFC-tags containing various additional information. Recently, NFC tags have begun to displace bar codes in Western stores. They can be found on foodstuffs in supermarkets and, having lifted the device with NFC support, find the expiration date and the composition of the goods. Also, NFC tags are used to display interactive advertising information.
The third mode of NFC operation is called peer-to-peer. In this case, the two devices communicate with each other to exchange information. In this way, you can transfer contacts from one smartphone to another or from a Wi-Fi router to a mobile device.