NFC Forum’s Protocols Architecture

Near Field Communication (NFC) facilitates short-range wireless communication between mobile gadgets, PCs and other devices. It allows intuitive and straightforward use of smartphones for specific purposes. Although it looks like Bluetooth, it requires less power and establishes a quicker wireless connection.

The NFC Forum enables the standardization and installation of NFC technology to create interoperability in services and devices. Founded in 2004, the NFC Forum has over 160 associates from all industries interested in NFC’s utility.

This entity manages a network of Authorized Certification Laboratories that conduct formal approval sessions. The forum sets up multiple industry events that promote NFC and lists several valuable and innovative applications.

LLCP (Logic Link Control Protocol) Technical Specification

This compact protocol relies on the IEEE 802.2 industry standard and is engineered to support small applications and network protocols like TCP/IP and OBEX. Thus, NFC LLCP creates a strong base for peer-to-peer apps without negatively impacting NFC chipsets’ legacy interoperability or applications.

LLCP supports peer-2-peer communication among dual NFC-enhanced devices by defining the OSI layer-2 protocol vital for all NFC applications featuring bi-directional communications. The technical architecture defines two forms of service; connection-oriented and connectionless.

They’re categorized into three service classes that include: connectionless services only, connection-oriented services only, and both connection-oriented and connectionless service.
The connectionless service provides a nominal installation with zero flow-control and reliability guarantees. Connection-oriented services enhance reliable delivery, flow-control, and session-centered multiplexing.

Digital Protocol

The Digital Protocol offers implementation specifications in compliance with ISO/IEC 14443 and ISO/IEC 18092 standards. It synchronizes integrated technologies, identifies implementation alternatives, and inhibits the standards’ interpretation.


Essentially, it shows developers how to utilize NFC, JIS X6319-4, and ISO/IEC 14443 harmoniously to promote global interoperability between various NFC devices and the contactless architecture.

This protocol identifies a mutual set of features that can be implemented consistently without further enhancements for the most significant NFC apps in sectors like public transportation and financial services.

nfc transportation

The digital interface and half-duplex transmission from an NFC-enabled computer in its four roles of Target, Card Emulator, Initiator, and Reader/Writer are covered in this specification. It entails bit rates, protocols, frame formats, bit range coding, and command sets utilized by the NFC-enabled gadgets to merge with the LLCP protocol and exchange data.

The digital protocol version 2.0 adds ACM (Active Communication Mode) for NFC-V technology and P2P communication. It also includes updates regarding existing alignment tasks with different standards and organizations like EMVCo, ISO/IEC 18092, and ISO/IEC 14443.
The Digital Protocol Version 2.1 provides support for bigger RF frames. The ISO-DEP contactless protocol that complies with ISO/IEC 14443 is included to alleviate ISO-DEP’s transaction time.

The 2.2 digital protocol delivers error recovery for Type 5 and Type 2 tags communication. This feature optimizes user experience by offering credible NFC communication in harsh settings where there is the distraction of NFC communications.

This facet explains how to use the NFC Digital Protocol to create a communication protocol with an NFC Forum tag or NFC device. It offers insight into building blocks, known as Activities, for installing a communication protocol. Activities are merged into profiles and can be utilized as stated within this specification or modified to identify other methods of designing the communication protocol.

This protocol enables an app on the NFC-enabled gadget to exchange NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format) messages with a different NFC Forum appliance when using the NFC Forum P2P mode. It utilizes the LLCP connection-oriented transport function to offer a trustworthy data exchange.

The Analog specification entails the analog features of an RF interface of NFC-enhanced appliances. This specification characterizes and specifies measurable signals for NFC-enhanced devices without identifying the antenna’s design of the NFC device. This includes transmission requirements, power requirements, signal waveforms, and receiver requirements.

This Analog protocol is important for manufacturers who want to implement the NFC- device. Its scope entails analog interfaces of NFC- enhanced devices in the five roles: Card Emulation Function, wireless charging, Target Peer mode, Writer/Reader mode, and Peer Initiator Mode.

The 2.0 Analog specification provided the Active Communication Mode for NFC-V technology and P2P data exchange in the poll mode. It gives full interoperability among devices that comply with ISO/IEC 18092 or ISO/IEC 1443 standards by utilizing analog parameters for contactless communication. Interoperability is crucial to facilitate the reliable use of NFC appliances with the already defined infrastructure using the compatible ISO RF cards or readers.

Version 2.1 comes with new EMVCo alignments and NFC-V Listen function requirements.

The NCI protocol specifies the NFC’s tools standard interface, between the device’s significant processor and NFC controller. It also enables device producers to integrate chipsets from various chip manufacturers easily. It also defines a shared interoperability and functionality level among parts of an NFC device.

Thanks to NCI, manufacturers can access a standard interface for use on any form of NFC devices they create, such as smartphones, tablets, printers, PCs, tablets, and consumer electronics. NCI also offers users a reasonable interface that can work in various physical transports like SPI, I2C, and UART.

The 2.0 NCI sports the RF interface extension, optimizing data exchange for memory tag, and P2P communication. The extended Listen Mode mechanism offers more flexibility for an NFC-device with a glut of secure elements.

The updated version allows NFC controllers to automatically align with the NFC Forum tags and enables the top-of-the-line RF interface to integrate with the NFC Forum tags. The 2.0 NCI supports ACM (Active Communication Mode) for peer-2-peer communication and Type V technology, enabling NFC gadgets to communicate with various tag devices.

The NCI 2.1 version identifies the NFC-enhanced device’s standard interface, NFC controller, and the appliance’s central application processor.

The Profiles component of 2.0 Activity is now the 1.0 Profiles protocol. It entails a new Profile that defines all services provided eventually with other technologies. The protocol identifies how Activities can be integrated to serve a unique utility case.

Every Profile comes with distinct Configuration Parameters and handles a specific utility case. This specification describes Profiles Polling for NFC devices, P2P communication establishment, and NFC tags polling.

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