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NFC: Start digging

Finally it’s time to give NFC (Near Field Communication) some attention.

There will be many smartphones with NFC during 2011, and also iPhone 5 is rumored to have it.

A few core facts:

  • It’s a specialization and extension of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Specialization in terms of frequencies (see below), distances (very short) etc. Extension in terms of semantics like Smart Poster etc.
  • The core standard is ISO/IEC 18092. The “soft parts” of the spec are handled by NFC Forum.
  • The bearer is 13.56 MHz.
  • Data can be transferred at 106, 212 and 424 kbit/s.
  • Tags can be passive or active. Passive tags get enough energy through induction to “spill its beans”.

Some claim it’s based on Bluetooth somehow. It isn’t, but NFC can be used for simple pairing of Bluetooth. Radio-wise they are completely separate.