Is there a difference between NFC and RFID?


This topic is about some definitions and how they are used. NFC can actually be called RFID technology. However, mainstream RFID technology is now used for longer distance identification technologies. While HF RFID systems can identify up to 50 centimeters, and UHF can identify between 10 meters and 100 meters depending on the type, systems defined as NFC generally cannot exceed 1-2 centimeters.

RFID technology can make a big difference to NFC when it comes to the volume of data that can be read. While hundreds of tags can be read at the same time with RFID, it is aimed to read a tag at the same time with NFC and this at a short distance. Think about it, what would happen to us if the credit cards in your pocket could be read from 5-6 meters away?
RFID is more of a technology used for “identification”. Asset identification, inventory counting, etc. NFC, on the other hand, is more suitable for projects such as contactless payment systems, managing after-sales product experiences, and data sharing.

Maybe it will be a technical detail, but I think the most impressive difference between the two technologies is that RFID has a one-way communication capability, whereas NFC has a two-way communication capability according to the architecture. So what does that mean? RFID tags only serve as tags and are loaded with RF signals emitted by RFID readers and broadcast the ID of the chip on them unidirectionally with this energy. Yes, NFC also has this type of use. For example, having your business card read with a mobile phone. But there is a second way of working in NFC. This is called bidirectional communication and it enables two-way interaction of both NFC devices with each other. For example, the fact that two mobile phones with NFC can transfer files between themselves…

Finally, the RFID world shares many arguments about security, but NFC has always come to me as a more secure technology. It is for this reason that no credit card has been produced with Class 1 Gen2 (and v2), which is currently the most widely used protocol of RFID in the world.


Is there any difference between NFC tag and card?


Short answer; no. The chip used in both is the NFC chip. The reason why some say card and some say label has more to do with the form factor and intended use of the “thing” in question. An NFC tag is affixed to every product sold, but with NFC cards equipped with the same NFC chip, employees in a company can use personnel access systems.


I want to develop projects with NFC, but I don’t know which one to choose. What should I do?


Please don’t waste your time on these while there is someone here who has bruised their elbows on these issues. Let’s start with the quickest answer. Most NFC projects are developed within the scope of interaction with mobile phones. If you are going to have an application related to smartphones in your project, my advice is to use an NFC tag with an NTAG chip. Because today’s NTAG series NFC systems are compatible with almost all smartphones.

Of course, if we need to go into detail, we need to talk about NFC chip types first. We can count 5 types. Let’s go through very roughly;

NFC Type 1 (ISO 14443-A) has a memory of 96 bytes. It communicates at 106 kbps. There are no data collision algorithms. There are read/write or read only modes. It is low cost. It’s not common anymore.

NFC Type 2 (ISO 14443-A) has 48 or 144 bytes of memory. It communicates at 106 kbps. There are data collision algorithms. There are read/write or read only modes. The most well-known productions are the NXP Mifare Ultralight. It is low cost.

NFC Type 3 (ISO 18092) has 1, 4, and 9 kilobytes of memory. It communicates at 212 or 424 kbps. There are data collision algorithms. There are read/write or read only modes. The most well-known productions are Sony Felica. In fact, it has higher performance in terms of speed and capacity than Type 1 and 2, but it is not very common. For example, all these years, I have never been able to work with these chips. The most expensive chip is produced of this type.

NFC Type 4 (ISO 14443-A) has 4 or 32 kilobytes of memory. It communicates at 106, 212 and 424 kbps.

There are data collision algorithms. Its notable feature is its security capabilities. There are read/write or read only modes. The most well-known productions are the NXP DesFire. The second most expensive chip is produced of this type.

NFC Type 5 (ISO 14443-A) has 192, 768 or 3584 bytes of memory. It communicates at 106 kbps. There are data collision algorithms. There are read/write or read only modes. The most well-known productions are the NXP MiFare Classic. It is low cost.

I think that’s enough for now. See you soon in the second part. We continue with NTAG2xx, Mifare, SLIX, EM4425x, ST25x chips. Don’t worry, I will be sharing everything you will need to determine the most suitable NFC technology for your project here.

By the way, click to review NFC tags.