NFC is a technology that you may have already heard mention on the new smartphone , but it is also a tool to the many unknown or even unused. NFC is actually an easy technology to understand and can be incredibly useful in the activities we do every day.
What is an NFC Chip and Why Should We Use it?
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about NFC chips and why you should use them.
What is NFC?
NFC stands for “ Near Field Communication”. Essentially, it is a method used by the phone to interact with an instrument placed in the immediate vicinity. The NFC sensor works in fact, in a range of only 4 cm and provides a wireless connection between our device and another. This connection is not based on Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE or other networks and does not require a cost to be used.
If you live in technologically developed countries, you’ve probably been using NFC for years without even realizing it. If your credit or debit card allows you to make contactless payments, the chip that handles the money transactions is NFC.
The same technology is available in most Android smartphones, which means you can use services like Google Pay to digitize your entire wallet.
How do we know if our Android smartphone integrates an NFC sensor ? It’s very simple. Just go to Settings> More or Settings> Wireless & networks and see if the NFC option is available. Most smartphones with NFC integrate a small NFC logo on the back shell.
How does NFC work on Android?
NFC transmits or receives data via radio waves, it is an established standard of wireless communication, so if the devices use the same NFC protocol, they will be able to communicate with each other.
It differs from Bluetooth in that it works through electromagnetic induction. This means that there may be a passive device, such as a sticker, which requires no power source, but can still transmit data when an active device, such as the smartphone, comes in contact with it.
As an active NFC device, a smartphone can send and receive data via NFC. Therefore a smartphone can use the NFC sensor in all three available modes:
- Read / write (eg. To read tags in NFC posters)
- Emulate a card (for example to make payments)
- Peer-to-peer (e.g. for file transfers)
Some problems with NFC on Android
Let’s see some problems related to this technology, still unripe to be used in a widespread way:
- Not all devices have an NFC chip, although the sensor is introduced on almost all mid-range devices.
- NFC chips aren’t all in the same place, causing delays in reading information between two devices.
- The compatibility between the various devices is not certain and universal, especially when it comes to some specific files.
What can I use NFC for?
- Sending a phone number, NFC is the easiest way to give a person your number, because you don’t actually have to type in any number. In fact, just select the contact in the address book, then bring the phone close to the recipient.
- Send a photo, Whatsapp is not the only way to quickly send someone an image, you can also use NFC. Just open the gallery and select the image you want to send, then bring the phones close.
- Send a document, This can be a bit complicated. For example, if you try to send a PDF document you are reading, it will more than likely be the app that is being shared and not the PDF file.
- Connection with NFC tags, NFC tags are small physical “tags” containing NFC chips that can be programmed to provide any type of information. Typically, an NFC tag contains links to a web address , but it can also be set to perform certain actions on your smartphone, such as turning on Wi-Fi or turning down the ringer. NFC has an advantage over QR technology, in fact there is no need to use an “app scanner”: Information is immediately available.
- In the future, these tags could be incorporated into anything. For example, an NFC tag could be used in a restaurant menu to make the full menu immediately available on the phone. NFC tags can also be configured to control devices connected to the phone , for example scanning a tag with the phone could start the PC.
Is NFC safe?
The NFC communications take place over the air and there is no real protection against signal interception. However, due to the necessary proximity of the two NFC devices to communicate, this vulnerability does not represent a real problem.
After all, a thief would have to be within inches of your smartphone to capture data via NFC. If you use Google Pay, you can be sure that your credit card number will never be passed on.
To recap : NFC provides the fastest method of making a connection between electronic devices and offers the fastest solution for transferring files between phones in close proximity. NFC is perfect for when you don’t want to carry cash or don’t have a cable to transfer data between smartphone and PC.