What is NFC(Near Field Communication)? Applications and Advantages

NFC(Near Field Communication)

What is NFC? All About NFC(Near Field Communication).

If you use smartphones then you may hear about NFC. In fact, most of the modern smartphones(even low-cost smartphones) has NFC facility. But are you know What is NFC((Near Field Communication)?.  In this article, we are going to discuss the following topics,

  • What is NFC?
  • How NFC Technology Works?
  • Application of NFC Technology.

We will discuss also many other things about NFC.

What is NFC(Near Field Communication)?

NFC means Near Field Communication. There are many short-distance wireless communication technologies are available like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. NFC is also a short-distance wireless communication technology. Long-distance communication is not possible without the Internet and many other technologies. When we want to communicate(like data sharing, or mobile payment) over a short distance we do not want to use the internet. NFC is the most useful and easy short-distance wireless communication technology.

How does NFC(Near Field Communication) Work?

When two NFC-enabled devices are very close to each other, roughly around 3 cm to 4 cm they can communicate with each other using the radio waves. To better understand the NFC technology you should know about Radio Wave.

In the NFC technology out of the two communicating devices, at least one device has to be an active device like a smartphone, tablet, or payment terminal having an NFC facility. While another device can be active or passive. Now you may have a question in your mind What is Active and Passive Device in NFC technology? The device which requires the external power supply is called the Active Device. And The device that requires no external power supply is called the Passive Device.
But remember that both devices need a power supply.

An example of an Active Device is a SmartPhone and an example of a passive device is an NFC tag. Now you may think that as the passive does not need the external power supply so from where it take power? The answer is the passive device powered by the electromagnetic field of the active device.

During the communication, out of the two devices, one generates radio waves using the antenna. In the case of smartphones, sometimes the antenna is fitted on the battery and sometimes it is fitted on the back side of the back cover.

There are three modes of communication system in NFC technology,

  1. Card Emulation Mode.
  2. Peer-to-Peer communication mode.
  3. The reader or write mode.
We will discuss each mode one by one,

Card Emulation Mode in NFC Technology:

In Card Emulation mode, both devices used to be an active device. An example of this mode is when smartphones are used for mobile payments. Generally, the one device used to be a smartphone, and the second device obviously used to be the payment terminal. In this mode, the smartphones act as a passive smart card like NFC Tag. So, they do not generate their own radio waves but they only respond back to the requested data by the payment terminal. So, in a way, the smartphone acts like a passive device.

Peer-to-Peer communication mode in NFC Technology:

An example of a Peer-to-Peer communication mode is when we are sharing information using the two smartphones. In this mode, both devices act as active devices. They communicate with each other by generating radio waves alternatively that means when one device transmits the data at that time the second device only listens to it. And it does not generate its own radio waves. Similarly, when the second device transmits the data by generating radio waves, at that time the first device only listens to it. And it does not generate its own radio waves. So, in the Peer-to-Peer communication mode, both devices generate the radio wave alternatively for communication at the carrier frequency of 13.56 MHz. And using this procedure they share the information and files with each other.

What is NFC? All About NFC(Near Field Communication). how to transfer file using NFC

The reader or write mode in NFC Technology:

An example of  The reader or write mode is when we are accessing the data or information using the smartphone from the NFC tag. In this mode, the active device like a smartphone or tablet reads or writes the data on NFC tag using the principle of Electromagnetic Induction. To read the information from the NFC tag, the active device generates the radio wave(13.56MHz). These Radio waves will be coupled to the antenna of the passive tag and from these electromagnetic waves, the NFC tag receives the power.

What is NFC? All About NFC(Near Field Communication).

So, this time-varying electromagnetic field generates the EMF or voltage in this passive NFC tag. This generated voltage(obviously AC) is rectified using the rectifier which is installed inside the Tag and it is used to power up the chip inside this NFC tag. Once the chip is powered up then the tag responds back to the active device according to its stored data.

Application of NFC Technology:

  1. Mobile payment.
  2. Data sharing between two smartphones.
  3. Door lock system using NFC tag.
  4. Information sharing using smart posters and business cards.

NFC VS Bluetooth:

  1. The data rate at which the information can be shared on Bluetooth is quite high compared to NFC.
  2. But in the case of Bluetooth, the time that is required for pairing the devices is more compared to NFC.


  1. RFID works on different frequencies from the low frequency up to the ultra-high frequencies. But NFC works on a particular frequency band, that is 13.56 MHz band.
  2. In the case of RFID, the reader sends the request to the RFID tag, and in response, the RFID(Radio Frequency Identification) tag replies back to the Reader which means there is only one-way communication is possible in the case of RFID. But in the case of NFC, it is also possible to have peer-to-peer communication which means two devices can communicate with each other alternatively.

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What is NFC(Near Field Communication)? Applications and Advantages What is NFC(Near Field Communication)? Applications and Advantages Reviewed by Author on December 07, 2018 Rating: 5
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