7 Difference Between NFC And RFID

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What Is Near-Field Communication (NFC)?

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity standard that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they’re touched together or brought within a few centimeters of each other. Jointly developed by Philips and Sony, the standard specifies a way for devices to establish a peer-to-peer (P2P) network to exchange data. After the (P2P) network has been configured, another wireless communication technology, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, can be used for longer range communication or for transferring larger amounts of data.

NFC tags (or cards) are passive devices. They store data that can be retrieved by active NFC devices. The most common example of NFC use involves a contactless payment system, in which a Smartphone can be swiped at an NFC reader (which are increasingly being installed near a store’s cash register) to make a contactless payment. The NFC device transmits information about the Smartphone user’s credit card. In this case, the reader is the NFC tag, while the Smartphone acts as an NFC device. Because NFC must occur within short range, the transaction is considered secure.

What You Need To Know About NFC

  • NFC is capable of two way communication and can therefore be used for more complex interaction such as card emulation and peer-to-peer sharing.
  • NFC is limited to communication at close proximity, typically 10 cm or less.
  • Only a single NFC tag can be scanned at one time.
  • NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and is an extension of High Frequency (HF) RFID standards.
  • NFC is designed to be a secure form of data exchange and an NFC device is capable of being both an NFC reader and an NFC tag.
  • In NFC, both the reader and writer are in the same mode.
  • NFC is used globally in access control, public transport, mobile payment and other fields.

What Is Radio-frequency Identification (RFID)?

RFID (Radio frequency identification) is a form of wireless communication that incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal or person. An RFID system consists of a tiny transponder, a radio receiver and transmitter.

Radio Frequency Identification works through a small electronic device, usually a microchip which has information stored on it. These devices are generally quite small, sometimes the size of a grain of rice and can hold large amounts of data. RFID is used in several commercial and industrial applications, from tracking items along a supply chain to keeping track of items checked out of a library.

What You Need To Know About RFID

  • RFID enables a one way wireless communication, typically between an unpowered RFID tag and a powered RFID reader.
  • RFID tags can be scanned at distances of up 100 meters without a direct line of sight to the reader.
  • Does not support peer-to-peer sharing.
  • RFID operates at a range of radio frequencies each with their own set standards and protocols.
  • In RFID both the reader and writer are in different mode.  
  • RFID is used globally for asset tracking in warehousing, airport baggage handling, livestock identification and traceability.

Difference Between NFC And RFID In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON NFC RFID
Description NFC is capable of two way communication and can therefore be used for more complex interaction such as card emulation and peer-to-peer sharing.   RFID enables a one way wireless communication, typically between an unpowered RFID tag and a powered RFID reader.  
Working 13.56 MHz 125kHz-124kHz, 13.56MHz, 856MHz-960MHz
Working Distance NFC is limited to communication at close proximity, typically 10 cm or less.   Up to 20m or more depending on the RFID reader.
Working Mode In NFC, both the reader and writer are in the same mode.   In RFID both the reader and writer are in different mode.   
Support For P2P Support peer-to-peer sharing.   Does not support peer-to-peer sharing.  
Application NFC is used globally in access control, public transport, mobile payment and other fields.   Asset tracking in warehousing, airport baggage handling, livestock identification and traceability.  

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