What is NFC | Explaining How Does NFC Work on Mobile Phones

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What is NFC | Explaining How Does NFC Work on Mobile Phones

What is NFC | Explaining How Does NFC Work on Mobile Phones

What is NFC ?

If you are a smartphone owner you might have probably heard about the NFC feature. Do you know what exactly does it mean ? Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standard of transmission based on the RFID technology which provides the opportunity for transferring data across few distances. 

NFC has a greater impact in our daily lives, assisting in payments and connecting with bluetooth and wifi devices. Perhaps due to NFC, the data transmission has become more faster and flexible. Using NFC you can send photos, videos, musics and contacts between NFC enabled devices. Compared to other transmission methods like bluetooth, really low amount of energy is been used by the NFC. And also like in other wireless communication methods there is no any kind setup required. 

In order for a device to connect with NFC, it should be kept in close proximity range. Allowing devices to send and receive data mostly around 4cm (The maximum range for a NFC is 10cm). Additionally every cell phone with NFC feature has their own chips those are connected to the antenna. These chips comes with unique ID that can be tracked with a GPS service.

How does NFC work ?

As mentioned earlier NFC is based on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID technology contains at least one reading device and a transponder. The gap which separates the reading device and the transponder is known as the Air interface. The data transmission between the 2 devices occur from the way of Electromagnetic induction through this air interface. Which means that the radio waves those are in the frequency of 13.56 MHz are used for the wireless data transmission. For this type of data transmission the devices has to be kept as closely as possible. This differenciates NFC with other transmission methods. Compared to other methods, NFC is highly power efficient. 

There are 2 types of modes used in NFC communication. Those are the Passive and Active mode. Passive mode allows only one way data transmission while Active mode allows 2 ways (Mutual Communication). Usually NFC is combined with other technologies such as bluetooth for making the pairing process easier. For an example Wifi connection is combined with NFC to make it fast and easy. However unlike bluetooth, NFC does not require any pairing process or discovering devices. The devices can be connected instantly when kept in a close proximity range.

NFC Operating Modes

NFC technology uses 3 modes of operations. These modes will be deciding what type of information can be shared between devices. 

Those are the ,

Peer to Peer Mode - A NFC device in peer to peer mode exchanges data between 2 or more NFC devices. When the data gets exchanged, both the devices switch to passive and active mode constantly. This is used most in the gaming industry where the data needs to shared simultaneously. And also this is used to exchange datas such as photos, videos and musics. 

Emulation Mode - A NFC device in emulation mode works same as a contactless credit card. It is generally combined with the mobile payment apps for making a payment. In this the user has to hold the NFC device closer to the NFC enabled POS terminal. 

Read/Write Mode - A NFC device in Read/Write mode assists the users in reading or writing an information. This information is taken from the corresponding passive device similar to the QR code technology. A NFC device in this mode can read, write data where it is permitted. It is used most for reading informations present on the NFC tag.

Payments Via NFC

Same as how a credit card can be used for a contactless payment, your mobile device can be used as well. Payments through NFC is becoming handy these days. Therefore every business owner should know how does a payment through NFC works. Unlike scanning a QR code, the NFC does not require the camera functioning. Instead it depends on the NFC chips present on both the devices. To accept a NFC payment there should be a NFC enabled reader. 

Moreover QR scanning is only a one way transaction while NFC transaction of two ways. Today most of the leading payment  services such as Google pay, Android pay and Apple pay use the NFC technology for their transactions. In fact most of the banks support an app that allows you to make contactless payments.

NFC Security

It is an undeniable fact that nothing in the world is 100% secure. Same applies to NFC. But NFC to some extent is secure. In fact it is even more secure than a magnetic stripe card. And the NFC data transmission is happening through the air. Meaning there is a possibility of eavesdropping. But because of the range being too small there is no much concern about these vulnerabilities. But an attacker trying to hack your information has to be in between this 10cm range making it almost impossible.

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