What is Near-Field Communication?

The chances you have heard or come across the term NEAR-FIELD COMMUNICATION when reading about smart technologies is really high. 

Most every smart device, both high-end and mid-rangers, in the market, is equipped with near field communications. 

Thanks to contactless payment schemes, such as Google Pay and Samsung Pay, wireless technology has become a global hit. Perhaps your phone is currently running near field communications. No need to worry because it doesn’t consume significant power [battery]. However, the main question people ask is:

What is NFC?

NFC is an acronym for near field communication. As the name suggests, near field communications is a short range technology that allows two compatible smart devices to communicate in short range. The innovation has made life easier on several aspects such as E-payments or transfer of information through mobile apps, among others.

The technology has gained ground all over the world, capitalizing on the backwards compatibility with the already deployed contactless smartcard infrastructure.
When running near field communication, one device generates/transacts data while another receives the digital information. The former is referred to as a passive device while the latter is recognized as active. Read on to understand the difference.

nfc transaction mobile phone

Passive devices are contactless tags and other handheld transmitters that share or communicate with other near field communications devices without the need for an in-built power source. Nonetheless, they cannot communicate with other passive sources within the near field communications range.

On the flip side, active near field communication devices can receive and send information from other components, whether passive or active. An excellent example is a smartphone. It is, by far, the most widely used form of active near field communication device. Other examples include access control readers, laptops…

How Does NFC Work?

At this point, you already understand what near field communications is. The next phase comes the “How” aspect of it. How does near field communication work? Consumers have used various wireless data-transfer technologies. These include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. They rely on radio frequency to transmit data, and near field communication works under the same principle, although with a slight difference. While other wireless technologies depend on relatively modern radio transmission systems, near field communication rely on the traditional Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) that allow the transfer of information through an electromagnetic field.

Whereas other alternatives require some manual setting to enable a device to discover another, near field communication connectivity is generated automatically, once a receiving device enters the communication range or field, usually within a radius of four centimeters (4cm). There is an explanation behind that.

Due to the electromagnetic induction occurring within the near field communications range, electric currents run through the passive device, enabling it to transfer data. That said, passive devices need not have their own power supply to transact with another device automatically. They get their power from the electromagnetic current released by an active near field communications device that is within a 4cm range.

You may be wondering: “Why then can’t I charge my smartphone using near field communications?” Currently, the technology does not produce sufficient inductance to enable phone charging. However, QI Wireless technology is an ideal option and operates under the same principles.

nfc distributor

Gain Control of the Information You Share with NFC

An upside of near field communication solution is that users have control of the information they send and receive from other components, thanks to different mode settings:

This mode is the one used to facilitate near field communications transmissions between smartphones. Any smart device within the required range can send and receive digital information. It is no wonder smartphones are regarded as active near field communications devices and used widely across the globe.

When you set your near field communications transmission on a read/write mode, you are limited to only one way of communication. The data-generating device, most likely a smartphone, connects to another device, to read or write the information. In this mode, you cannot do both. This functionality makes this mode ideal for use in near field communications advertisement tags.

A critical mode of NFC transmission, card simulation lets you use your smartphone as a contactless credit card. Therefore, you can use your phone to make payments, purchase goods, or use public transport.

How Can You Use Near Field communication?

You can leverage near field communication and experience convenience at another level. The technology is used for various purposes. Some of them include:

In the digital era, many consumers are migrating to the cashless world. The coronavirus pandemic has even accelerated the shift further. With that in mind, near field communications offers e-payment channels through the use of mobile phones and smartcards.

All you need is to bring your smartphone within 4cm of the reader, and the electromagnetic currents generated will prompt your digital wallet to complete the transaction. Therefore, the app will pop up on the screen, asking you to confirm the payment.

The near field communications tags in your smartphone can be used to initiate phone calls. They do this via links to the phone dialer that has a pre-recorded number. That reduces the time you take when making a call. This comes as good news to engineers and businesses that depend on near field communications since they can quickly contact their providers for technical support.

Digital marketers have come to learn the importance of near field communications in marketing digital tools, such as apps. Instead of going through the trouble of driving users to the app store to download an app, they can leverage near field communications to enable users to launch the app whenever they touch the near field communications ad effortlessly. 


An advantage of that is that you can compare various apps on the fly – whenever and wherever you are. Besides, that saves tech companies money, because they don’t need to rely on an app to conduct their online marketing campaigns.

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