New technologies keep on coming which change the way we communicate & carry out our work. You might know the tap and go services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay. They have made our lives immensely easier. But do you know how do they function? Well, such payment is possible due to Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless technology. You might have heard the term NFC before, but what exactly is NFC? So we will be giving you a little run-through about the technology, how it functions, and applications of the technology.
Near Field Communication (NFC)
The term NFC stands for Near Field Communication. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless technology that enables communication or information sharing between NFC-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, wearables, payment cards, etc. when they are placed close to each other. It operates within a radius of about 4 cm or less. Near Field Communication (NFC) can be either “passive” or “active” as a range of devices can use the NFC standard.
Passive NFC devices can only send pieces of information to the other NFC devices but cannot receive any data from the different sources. But it also has its benefit; they do not require any power to run. For instance, the student identity card uses the NFC technology, and it is sending the student’s information to the bus’s system when you tap your id card. Billboards or advertisement signs also use passive NFC.
Active NFC devices are capable of sending and receiving data and pieces of information. Some of the instances of the active NFC devices are smartphones through which we can pay at stores only by tapping our phones. Well this is not the same as Phone tapping which is like listening to others private conversation.
How does Near Field Communication (NFC) technology work?
Now that we have already known about Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Let us see how exactly it operates. NFC is very similar to the other wireless signals Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as it also uses data and information transfer bases on radio waves. But the main difference between NFC and others is it utilizes electromagnetic radio fields to transfer data and allows devices to communicate when they are close to each other.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology-enabled devices must be physically touching or within a distance of 4cm or less for communication or data transmission. Learn how can you get the WiFi internet connection in Nepal?
NFC has a transmission frequency of 13.56mHz for data transfer. You can send data at either 106, 212, or 424 kilobits per second. It is quite fast for the transmission of data like a few pictures, pdf files, etc. There are currently three different modes for NFC standards that it uses to operate; reader/writer, card emulation, and peer-to-peer.
Reader/writer mode allows NFC-enabled devices to read or write information on NFC tags and stickers. It is one-way data transmission.
Card emulation mode allows NFC-enabled devices such as smartphones to act itself as the smart credit card for making the payments and for ticketing in public transports.
And finally, the most common peer-to-peer mode, allows the two NFC-enabled devices to exchange data and information between peers. This mode is also utilized in the android beam.
Applications Of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is used not only for payments but also for many applications. They are now widely used in various fields. Some of the uses of NFC are listed below:
- Making Payments: NFC is used to make contactless payments using your smartphones and watches. You will be able to pay with just the tap.
- Sharing Images: You will be able to share the desired image to another device within no time; you just have to place both the devices close to each other and tap. It is also used in IoT and wearables to share information fast and it consumes low battery.
- Sharing apps: You can share apps through the NFC, but the APK will not be shared; instead, the play store page of the app will beam to another device, and they can download the app from the store.
- Use of NFC in Healthcare: NFC has been started to use in hospitals. It is tough to keep track of patients in large hospitals. So, it will help staff to keep track of patients. It will also help monitor patients as NFC-enabled wrist watches can be configured to track patients’ vital signs.
- Use in Travel and hospitality: While travelling, it is quite a hassle to board a plane as it takes quite a time for identification and ticketing. With the use of NFC, one’s smartphone can be their identification and ticket. When you reach your hotel, you won’t need to take a key to your rooms with the use of NFC, and the hotel management can directly provide your access rights to your place in the smartphone in advance before your arrival. Ain’t that cool?
- Use of NFC tags: NFC tags are small physical tags which are unpowered NFC chips that can be programmed into items like posters, movie passes, stickers, etc. You will be able to perform various tasks with the help of NFC tags such as configure your phone setting, command execution, and your phone can even be a tourist guide if the places have NFC tags with their Infos.
Is it safe?
With all the impressive applications of technology, one might also question the safety of users of the technology. We know that NFC communication occurs over the air so that it might have an eavesdropping risk or man-in-the-middle attacks. But it has the first layer of protection that is its proximity requirement for the NFC to function. So, the attacker must be very close to you so you will know the questionable individual.
You will have to use secure channels with your business partner to avoid data corruption and interference. There might be the issue of physical theft of your device, so you must be alert about your device and put password protection so that the thief won’t be able to access your important information.
So I would say it is one of the fast ways of making communication between the devices and for data & information transfer. It is pretty safe and reliable for use. It is excellent to use as you will be able to perform various tasks with just bumping of your devices.
How to know if your Android smartphone has NFC?
Nowadays many smartphones in the flagship range to mid-ranger, arrive with NFC hardware on it. But the same smartphones come to Nepal without NFC support here in Nepal. It is due to the reason that there are NFC based services in Nepal whereas personal IoT, wearables, and digital connectivity can always be used. It is effortless to view if your device has NFC or not. You just have to go to Settings > More or Settings > Wireless & Networks and see if there’s an NFC option on it or not.
How to know if your iPhone has NFC?
Every iPhone after iPhone 6 comes with the NFC technology, so you won’t have to worry about the inclusion of the NFC technology in your device if you are an iOS user.
Have a Look at the Apple smartphone price in Nepal.
Is there NFC technology in use in Nepal?
Unfortunately, there are no Near Field Communication services in Nepal. As there are no NFC services in Nepal, most of the smartphones (equipped globally with NFC) are brought without the NFC support. It could be due to cutting the cost of the hardware to make the device more affordable.
As per Samsung, they bring all of their flagship and Mid-range devices with NFC support, if it is available globally. We can expect other smartphone brands to include NFC in their phone, to make the device ecosystem ready for future payment services in Nepal.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is very effortless and fast to use. Due to coronavirus pandemic, it could be the solution to us as they just have to be close to each other without making contacts to operate. But, unfortunately, there are no NFC technology services available in our country. So, even the gadgets with NFC equipped come without the NFC technology in Nepal.
Wouldn’t it be easy if you don’t have to carry any cables or wait for a long time to share your files and information? If you could perform all those tasks just by tapping your phones. It would be straightforward to do the shopping and make payments. There would also be no risk of getting contaminated by the virus.
We hope that the tech giants and communication companies will bring the NFC technology services in Nepal. We can expect it to be there with the upcoming mobile money service of Nepal Telecom. It would make our lives immensely easier. NFC is already widely used in other developed countries like the USA, Korea, the UK, etc.
So here we have given you a rundown about the Near Field Communication technology. So what are your thoughts about this wireless technology?
Also, Read about the VoWiFi technology and its Pros & Cons.
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