About NFC

The Four Modes of NFC

*Drawn up from materials released by the NFC Forum

NFC devices defined by the NFC Forum specifications ('NFC Forum Devices') support four different modes :

  • Reader/Writer mode is used to exchange information with NFC tags or contactless IC cards.
  • Peer-to-Peer mode enables the exchange of messages (such as Web URL or e-mail addresses) directly between NFC Forum Devices.
  • Card Emulation mode can substitute the functionality of existing contactless IC cards.
  • Wireless Charging mode enables the transfer of power between NFC Forum Devices, via NFC.

NFC Forum creates technical specifications based on these four modes and maximizes the applicability of NFC technology in relevant markets, by defining them in harmony with existing contactless technology standards.

NFC Forum Specifications

*Drawn up from materials released by the NFC Forum

NFC Forum Devices and Tags

NFC Forum defines the following device categories:

  • NFC Forum Universal Devices
  • NFC Forum Reader Devices
  • NFC Forum Tag Devices

NFC Forum Universal Devices and NFC Forum Reader Devices, which have Reader/Writer mode, are required to be able to read and write NFC Forum Tag Devices (NFC Tags).

Of the NFC Tags, Type 2 Tag is based on MIFARE Ultralight® by NXP Semiconductors, Type 4 Tag is based on tags compliant with ISO/IEC 14443, and Type 3 Tag is based on Sony FeliCa compliant with ISO/IEC 18092 and the Japanese Industrial Standard JIS X 6319-4. Type 5 Tag is based on ISO/IEC 15693.

To encapsulate application data to be transferred via NFC, NFC Forum has defined a data format called NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF). Applications using NDEF as a data format can, therefore, make use of all these tag types interchangeably.

* The NFC Forum Type 1 Tag is no longer a mandatory requirement.

NFC and other Contactless Protocols

*Drawn up from materials released by the NFC Forum

NFC communication technology is used by several different contactless communication protocols in the market, which use different coding for signal and load modulation. NFC Forum has created a set of specifications allowing NFC Forum Devices to use these different communication protocols. As a result, NFC Forum Devices are able to communicate with:

  • Readers and cards compliant to the ISO/IEC 14443 Type A standard
  • Readers and cards compliant to the ISO/IEC 14443 Type B standard
  • Cards compliant to the ISO/IEC 15693 standard*
  • Devices compliant to the ISO/IEC 18092 standard
  • Readers and cards compliant to the JIS X 6319-4 standard
  • NFC Forum Tags
  • Other NFC Forum Devices.

* NFC Forum Type 5 Tag partly supports the communication modes defined by the ISO/IEC 15693 standard.