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  • Writer's pictureSubir Biswas

NFC or Near Field Communication.. All you wants to know!!

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

Hello readers.

Welcome to this tutorial about NFC. I've covered some technical information and the use cases in the modern society. It become a bit lengthy as I've tried to cover most of the information you wants to know. Please Enjoy the article and let me know if you need any further queries in the comment.

What is NFC and what does NFC stand for?

NFC is stands for Near Field Communication. This is a quick and sensitive technology that lets you interact securely with the world around you with a simple tap. NFC is a set of communication protocols for communication between two electronic devices over around 4 cm or less distance.

In 2002 NXP and Sony co-invent NFC technology.
In 2006 Nokia launches the first NFC phone i.e. Nokia 6131.
In 2010 Google launches the first Android NFC phone (Nexus S)
In 2014 Apple introduces Apple Pay using NFC technology with iPhone 6

And now in 2020, NFC is available in most of the mobile phones, tables even smart watch and headphones.

4 big reasons for considering NFC in modern days electronics devices.

  1. Secure: NFC involves only two devices at once, so there is no crosstalk. Plus, you avoid being overheard and keep secrets safe by getting close before you start to speak.

  2. Low Power: Since energy harvesting lets one device power another during an NFC transaction, the second device can save its battery for other tasks or not have a battery at all.

  3. Have Remote control always in your hand: With your smartphone or tablet as the user interface, you’ll be the master of any piece of equipment, be it a robot in a factory, a sensor in a storage room, or a new set of earbuds.

  4. New way of Payment: Fully supported by the majority of Android and iOS smartphones out there, NFC is an integral part of one of the largest infrastructures on the planet, and ready to work whenever you are.

Uses cases of NFC:

Access Control

NFC gives mobility to a high level of security for physical and logical access. This allows you to do more with your smartphone or a wearable devices (smartwatch, wristband, fitness tracker etc.) available with NFC. When you leave home, your phone or wristband can lock the door and use for unlock when you are back. When you arrive at work, it can serve as your ID badge, your computer logon, and your authorization to use certain machines. Your device can also open your hotel room or be your event ticket etc. With NFC, you can reduce waste, increase security, and gain the ability to grant or deny access, as needed, from a remote location.

Below are the key advantages of NFC for Access Control.

  • Time and attendance will be logged for secure areas.

  • Set limits for access times, for temporary personnel, or rental homes.

  • Reduce maintenance and replacement costs, with fewer lost or damaged keys, cards, or badges.

Pairing and Commissioning

When you brings two NFC-enabled devices close together or tap with each other it creates a connection and that's it. NFC can trigger other protocols, like Bluetooth, ZigBee, or Wi-Fi. Pairing is practically instantaneous and, because NFC only works when you ask it to, there aren’t any unintended device connections, and none of the device conflicts that can happen with Bluetooth. It’s also easier to commission new devices or expand your home network, even if you’re adding devices that don’t have a battery – and there’s no need to search for a connection or type in a serial number.

Below are the key advantages of NFC for Paring and commissioning.

  • Enable two-way interactions with Peer-to-Peer mode.

  • Pair Bluetooth or Wi-Fi devices much faster and secure with NFC.

  • Identify a device instantly, without entering codes or creating device conflicts.

  • Make devices easier to use and reduce tech-support costs.

  • Exchange credentials securely, just by tapping or keeping the devices closer.

Authentication and Identification

NFC is the one technology that makes it easier and safer, at every point of ownership, to enjoy any type of electronic device. From using personal care items and household appliances to adjusting settings of smart gym equipment based on your very own profile, NFC can simplify configuration, increase personalization, enable reorders, enhance safety, and fight fakes. The same NFC operations increase automation in industrial settings, too, for

greater efficiency.

Below are the key advantages of NFC for Authentication and Identification.

  • Automatically adjust settings of the main unit based on the accessory attached.

  • Identify users and immediately provide personalized settings and preferences.

  • Send notifications when accessories are nearing replacement, and make offers based on usage patterns.


NFC-enabled phone or tablet can serve as a temporary touchscreen for your product, enabling sophisticated interactions and configurability at little additional cost. Your product can be smaller, lighter, more rugged, and less expensive to produce – yet easier to use. Additionally, NFC works with sealed devices, so sensors operating in difficult environments can easily interact with the control unit. Energy harvesting uses power from the active reader device, so unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, with NFC he device doesn’t need a battery to send or receive information. Systems with a battery can even remain in sleep mode while being read.

Advantages of NFC over the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection:

  • Device can be unpowered

  • No ambiguities - the device you tap is the device you connect to

  • Inherent security due to short range and additional password and AES key option

  • Very cost effective


Contactless technology lets you do business with open systems like EMV. You can count on full compatibility with every form factor, from smartcards and NFC equipped mobile phones to wearables, tokens, and more. Using contactless technology also lets you increase consumer share-of-mind with value-added services, such as personalized messages, loyalty programs, and coupons based on recent purchases.

  • Offer tap-and-pay convenience with enhanced security

  • Accept EMV and MIFARE payments, and send paperless receipts

  • Increase engagement with messages, loyalty, and couponing

  • Use system-level solutions to save design and certification time

  • Use protocol-agnostic operations to trigger actions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is NFC in mobile?

NFC is a short range wireless communication technology where two devices can communicate with 4cm or less distance. NFC allows you to share small amount of data between any NFC tag and mobile device, or between two mobile phones devices.

Can NFC be hacked?

NFC technology is theoretically the best form digital communication. It is largely admitted that this technology protects us from hacking. Because, NFC signals have a tiny range that typically covers just a few centimeters. An hacker has to get very, very near to you mostly interfered between you and your card or card to payment terminal transmit anything malicious.

Can NFC read RFID?

NFC enabled device can read only NFC tags or communicate with NFC enabled devices. You cannot read a passive 125 KHz Tag (RFID tag) with a NFC reader.

What can NFC chips do?

NFC chips helps to read the information from the NFC tag. NFC readers/chips are the active components in NFC transactions. These chips can read and write cards and tags, interact with NFC enable mobile phones and enable communication between NFC enabled devices.

What can NFC transfer?

This is another wireless protocol to communicate between NFC enabled devices. You can send photos, videos, files, or make a payment though NFC.

How NFC will work?

NFC is actually one kind of Radio Frequency which allows to identify things through radio waves at 13.56 MHz and this is used for close-range communications up-to 4 cm.

Will NFC drain my battery?

The NFC chip works in some kind of sleep mode and scans his environment with limited interval (around 10 times per second). The scanning of the environment doesn’t require as much energy as establishing a connection to a NFC device. As data are transferred very quickly via NFC, a NFC chip only needs to provide enough energy to establish a connection for very short time frames. Even when connected with another device NFC is much more energy efficient than similar technologies (Bluetooth, RFID etc.).

Will NFC work through a case?

Yes! of course. If your mobile phone or smartwatch has the NFC function, the cases will be compatible with this. However, the NFC signals (frequency) is able to penetrate through the case so long as the back center of the phone. Most of the time in mobile phone either it is fixed into the phone's battery. But choose the mobile phone case carefully.

What is NFC and payment?

NFC is the technology which powers contactless payments via mobile phone wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay as well as contactless cards. This makes the smartphone for easy and secure payments.

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