A short introduction to NFC

NFC (Near field communication) is a short-range radio technology that enables communication between units (devices) without direct physical touch.

  • NFC is an open-platform technology, which is being standardized in the NFC Forum.
  • NFC is based on and extends on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). It operates on 13.56 MHz frequency.
  • NFC communication range is up to 10 cm. It is however recommended that the devices are in touch with each other.
  • NFC standard supports different data transmission rates such as 106kbps, 212 kbps, and 424 kbps.

The Tag and the reader

NFC-based communication between two devices is possible when one device acts as a reader/writer and the other as a tag.

  • The tag is a thin simple device containing antenna and small amount of memory. It is a passive device, powered by magnetic field. Depending on the tag type the memory can be read only, re-writable, and writable once.
  • The reader is an active device, which generates radio signals to communicate with the tags. The reader powers the passive device in case of passive mode of communication.

 

Communication modes:

NFC devices support two communication modes.

  • Active: In this mode, the target and the initiator devices have power supplies and can communicate with one another by alternate signal transmission.
  • Passive: In this mode, the initiator device generates radio signals and the target device gets powered by this electromagnetic field. The target device responds to the initiator by modulating the existing electromagnetic field.

 

 

Operation modes:

NFC devices can operate in three different modes based on the ISO/IEC 18092, NFC IP-1 and ISO/IEC 14443 contactless smart card standards.

  • Read / Write: In this mode, the NFC enabled phone can read or write data to any of the supported tag types in a standard NFC data format.
  • Peer to peer: In this mode, two NFC-enabled devices can exchange data. For example, you can share Bluetooth or Wi-Fi link set up parameters to initiate a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi link. You can also exchange data such as virtual business cards or digital photos. Peer-to-Peer mode is standardized on the ISO/IEC 18092 standard.
  • Card emulation: An NFC-enabled phone acts as reader when in contact with tags. In this mode, the phone can act as a tag or contactless card for existing readers.

Tag types:

Type 1 tags: Type 1 tags are cost effective and ideal for many NFC applications.

  • Based on ISO-14443A standard.
  • Read and re-write capable, also users can configure the tag to be read-only.
  • 96 bytes of memory, expandable up to 2KB.
  • Communication speed 106 Kbits/s.
  • No data collision protection.
  • Compatible products available in the market- Innovision Topaz, Broadcom BCM20203.

Type 2 tags:

Type 2 tags are similar to type 1 tags and are derived from NXP/Philips MIFARE Ultralight tag.

  • Based on ISO-14443A standard.
  • Read and re-write capable, also users can configure the tag to be read-only.
  • 96 bytes of memory, expandable up to 2KB.
  • Communication speed 106 Kbits/s.
  • Anti-collision support.
  • Compatible products available in the market – NXP MIFARE Ultralight.

Type 3 tags:

Type 3 tags are derived from the nonsecure parts of Sony FeliCa tags. These tags are costlier than type 1 and 2 tags.

  • Based on the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) X 6319-4.
  • Pre-configured at manufacture to be either read and re-writable, or read-only.
  • Variable memory, up to 1 MB per service.
  • Supports two communication speeds, 212 or 424 Kbits/s.
  • Anti-collision support.
  • Compatible products available in the market – Sony FeliCa.

Type 4 tags:
Type 4 tags are similar to type 1 tags and are derived from NXP DesFire tag.

  • Based on ISO-14443A standard.
  • Pre-configured at manufacture to be either read and re-writable, or read-only.
  • Variable memory, up to 32 KB per service.
  • Supports three different communication speeds 106 or 212 or 424 Kbits/s.
  • Anti-collision support.
  • Compatible products available in the market – NXP DESFire, SmartMX-JCOP.

Type MIFARE Classig Tag:

  • Based on ISO-14443A standard.
  • Read and re-write capable, also users can configure the tag to be read-only.
  • Variable memory 192/768/3584 Bytes.
  • Communication speed 106 Kbits/s.
  • Anti-collision support.
  • Compatible products available in the market – NXP MIFARE Classic 1k, MIFARE Classic 4K, and Classic Mini.
  • For more information on MIFARE Classic Tag, refer to the NXP website (http://www.nxp.com/).

Some standards related to tag types:
Mifare classic

  • MIFARE refers to an NFC tag type developed by NXP semiconductors. MIFARE tags are widely used as memory cards in transportation applications. ISO 14443 defines a protocol stack from the radio layer up to a command protocol.
  • employ a proprietary protocol compliant to ISO/IEC 14443-3 Type A, with an NXP proprietary security protocol for authentication and ciphering.

Mifare Ultralight

  • low-cost ICs that employ the same protocol as MIFARE Classic, but without the security part and slightly different commands.

Mifare Ultralight C

  • the first low-cost ICs for limited-use applications that offer the benefits of an open Triple DES cryptography.

Mifare DESFire

  • are smart cards that comply to ISO/IEC 14443-4 Type A with a mask-ROM operating system from NXP.

Mifare DESFire EV1

  • includes AES encryption.

MIFARE Plus

  • drop-in replacement for MIFARE Classic with certified security level (AES 128 based)

MIFARE SAM AV2

  • secure access module that provides the secure storage of cryptographic keys and cryptographic functions

ISO 14443 A/B

  • This is a well-known international standard originally developed for contactless chip card communication over a 13.56 MHz radio.
  • This defines a protocol stack from the radio layer up to a command protocol.
  • There are two versions of the radio layer ISO 14443-2, with different modulation and bit encoding methods. These versions are known as the –A and –B versions of the ISO 14443. Similarly, ISO 14443 specifies two versions of the packet framing and low-level protocol part (ISO 14443-3). The topmost layer of the ISO protocol stack defines a command interface (ISO 14443-4) for transferring information.

SONY FeliCa

  • FeliCa is a proprietary NFC tag technology developed by Sony, and widely used in proprietary payment and transportation applications in Asian markets.
  • FeliCa tags have also been integrated with selected mobile phone models in the Mobile FeliCa system. FeliCa tags are standardised as a Japanese industry standard. The tags are based on the passive mode of ISO 18092, with added authentication and encryption capabilities.

RFID light – standard ISO 14443 A

NFCIP-1

  • The peer-to-peer communication between two NFC devices is made possible by mechanisms defined in the Near Field Communication – Interface and Protocol specification, NFCIP-1. This key NFC specification is also known as ISO 18092 and ECMA-340.
  • The protocol stack in NFCIP-1 is based on ISO 14443. The main difference is a new command protocol which replaces the topmost part of the stack.
  • NFCIP-1 includes two communication modes, which allow an NFC device to communicate with other NFC devices in a peer-to-peer manner, as well as with NFCIP-1 based NFC tags.

EMV CCPS v2.0

MasterCard Paypass 2.0

VISA payWave 2.1.1

Amex Expresspay 2.0

This entry was posted in NFC. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.