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The 3 modes of NFC

Card Emulation mode

An NFC device in card emulation mode can replace a contactless card or tag. This will enable NFC devices to be used with existing contactless card infrastructure in applications such as ticketing, access control and payments.


Reader/Writer mode

NFC enabled devices are able to read and write to NFC and many contactless cards. For example, if a NFC tag is attached to a poster, the NFC smartphone can "tap" the tag to access the information stored in the tag (e.g. coupons, maps, product information, etc) easy and conveniently.


Peer to Peer mode

Peer to peer mode enables two NFC devices to share data between them. Due to the low transfer speed of NFC if large amounts of data need to be sent, peer to peer mode can be used to create a secondary high speed connection (handover) like Bluetooth or WiFi. In this case, the NFC is used to negotiate the optimal communication protocol and transfer authentication data for the secondary protocol. The file or data is then sent over the high capacity protocol (i.e. Bluetooth, WiFi, etc).


♦Bluetooth Handover

For transferring larger files like photos or video clips, it is better to use a longer range and faster communication protocol like Bluetooth. When using a longer range wireless carrier the danger of interception increases. Therefore Bluetooth authentication is quite complex for the regular user. Due to the short range of NFC being used to imply an intended connection, using NFC to trigger a Bluetooth connection is considered safer. This method is a simple, safe and fast way of sharing data.

Bluetooth Handover

♦WiFi Handover

With the increased use of mobile devices like smartphones and netbooks in recent years, WiFi hotspots have been added by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reduce the loads on their data networks. For users though, access to this has been cumbersome with having to manage login data. To simplify this service, customers could be issued with a NFC member’s card that would allow the user to access the WiFi hotspots by simply touching the card to the NFC smartphone or netbook to login to the service. This could also be an added service to businesses like cafes that provide a complimentary service to customers, by providing a premium WiFi service to members with a special NFC enabled Members card.