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What is NFC? Everything you need to know

By: Kari Kernen

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What is NFC?

NFC stands for near-field communication. It is a method of transferring data from one device to another. As the name implies, it is only workable at a range of 4 inches or less.

How Does NFC Work?

It requires no special pairing or other connection protocol. When an NFC-equipped device detects another, it automatically connects. Once the device connects, it provides prompts to each user. If a device is NFC compatible, it will have an NFC chip inside it that springs to life when near another NFC device. The NFC software connects the two devices. After that, you can make payments and transfer files and information freely between the two devices. The software makes sure that only the payments you authorize go through.

How Does NFC Work

NFC Payment Software and Payments

Once the devices connect on the 13.56-mHz band, you can authorize any payments you want. Apple products use thumbprints to unlock the various payment options while Android products use various lock-code options. Some more advanced models use facial recognition that ties into the NFC payment software. The biggest advantage to NFC payments is that you can store multiple cards and accounts and just toggle between them to make each payment from the account or with the card you wish.

You can accept payments, too, which is quite useful. For example, if you buy something from an online marketplace, you can pay when you pick up the item at the seller's home or business. Similarly, if you are a contractor and have just completed work for a client, you can receive payment immediately. There is no need to have a complicated and lengthy billing process. You just touch your respective devices back-to-back, select the right account, and finish the transaction.

NFC Payment Software and Payments

Sharing Data Between Devices

NFC software companies have made it easy to share almost anything between two NFC devices. You can share photos. You can trade content. You can move large files between devices that would normally be disallowed by mail servers or social media protocols. Since 2014, which is when NFC became available on both major mobile operating systems, you can even share across platforms.

NFC provides a transfer rate of 424 kilobits per second. All you have to do is touch the phones back-to-back, and you will be connected in less than one-tenth of a second. NFC is as powerful for business as it is for personal use. For example, if you have to send someone a vitally important document that absolutely cannot fall into the wrong hands, then NFC is the exact right method for doing such transfers of files. This transfer of information and files is called Android Beam or NFC Reader, depending on your device's technology.

Sharing Data Between Devices

NFC Compatibility

You have to ensure, too, that each device actually supports the process. There is a very simple app in the Google Play Store called, simply, "NFC." When you download, install, and open it, which only takes seconds, it will instantly tell you if your device supports NFC or not. After you use the app, you can delete it immediately.

Apple doesn't have an app that determines NFC compatibility. All iPhones prior to the iPhone 6 do not support NFC at all. The iPhone 6 only supports partial functionality. For all iPhone models after the iPhone 6, you must have the latest version of iOS installed. Most high-end Android devices support NFC natively, but a few older devices need a separate app to get it to work.

NFC Compatibility

NFC Tags

A NFC tag is a combination of a tiny chip, an equally tiny antenna, and clip that holds the contraption together. The chip contains the memory that acts as a conduit for the material to be transferred. The antenna is a fine wire that allows the transmission. A tag is usually mounted on the inside of a device with a sticker or is inlaid on the circuit board. Other devices, such as wristbands, table-mounted terminals, key fobs, and the like aren't called tags. Rather, they are "NFC products."

You can store data on a tag through a process known as encoding. The amount of data is negligible when you compare it to USB drives or mountable SD cards. Usually, it's a sentence, perhaps two. It probably seems counter-intuitive to have the tag only store such a tiny amount of data when you can send multiple gigabytes back and forth. However, the tag is called a tag for a reason: The data stored is only a marker.

Those markers are associated with other items. Those items could be files or other data on the device, web pages, or even other networks. Think of how the process works as an hourglass. The bulb that contains all the sand is the data you want to send, and the empty bulb at the other end is the device to which you want to send those data. The tiny tube in the middle is the tag. It never contains very much of the sand at once, but the sand flows freely through it.

NFC Tags

The Chetu Advantage

We're Chetu, and we've been around since 2000. We deliver outstanding software development solutions. That includes software designed for NFC. Because of the flexibility of NFC software, we can support almost any industry from agriculture to transportation.

Our developers always work with an eye toward easy integration. When we develop software for the world of NFC, we want the communications, transfers, and the entire user experience to be both user-friendly and powerful. We consider it our biggest win when you have zero problems using the software we provide.

Should you want to find out more about all the ways we can help you regarding NFC, contact us today.

For more information, visit our NFC software solutions page.

Disclaimer:

Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.

- See more at: www.chetu.com/blogs

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