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RFID and NFC: What’s the Difference?

October 14th, 2015

RFID is the technology to identify multiple items with the assistance of radio waves and NFC is the division within this branch of technology.  These wireless communication technologies are utilized on a variety of applications like access control, asset tracking and contactless payments.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology




RFID works with an unpowered tag and a powered reader. These tags can easily work within the distances of up to 100 meters. This technology is used to track goods in warehouses, livestock tracking, event management, etc.  This technology utilizes radio frequencies to work within a set parameter.


Near Field Communication (NFC)




NFC works at 13.56 MHz. This is an extension of High Frequency (HF) RFID standards. Near Field Communication relies on physical properties like one way communication and the capability to communicate.

But, NFC has some limitations:

1. This technology is able to offer two way communications and can be utilized for more complicated interactions like card emulation, peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing, etc.

2. This technology is restricted to communication at proximity, usually 5cm or even less than that.

3. Only one tag can get scanned at one time. This is one of the biggest limitations of Near Field Communication.  NFC was primarily created to allow safe mobile payments. Perhaps this is the reason this technology is limited to single and nearby interactions.

Nowadays NFC and RFID technologies are used in multiple business tasks. Their popularity is skyrocketing in the market. Many companies are offering NFC and RFID solutions at affordable rates.

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