Everything there is to know about NFC, RFID and Bluetooth

NFC: What is it ?

NFC is the label under which three uses assemble.  These uses are based on the magnetic field at 13.56MHz. These three uses are:

  • the reader + card “classic” but also reader + card emulation
  • RFID use
  • peer-to-peer use

Integrator is most of the time focused on one implementation type but we can sometimes use several uses. 


What’s the point ?

NFC will allow you to communicate in peer-to-peer as well as NFC communication between a tag and a reader.


NFC and smartphones

NFC is now integrated in most of smartphones. NFC is integrated as a chip, one active (that sends data) in one phone, another one passive (that receives data) in the other phone. The communication occur when the two chips get closer from each other.

The merge of these two chips allow the exchange of data like files. NFC allows also to identify devices. To pair Bluetooth device we use NFC. Another use of the NFC is the reading of tags, these small objects are composed of an NFC chip which are woken up by your smartphone when it is activated in NFC mode and brought close to the tag.


RFID: What is it ?

The RFID technology appeared because of the need for identification of planes remotely during World War II.

An IFF system has been developed quickly during this war. IFF stands for Identification Friend or Foe. The IFF uses radio waves to identify mobile objects. This system is the first identification system by radio-frequence, Radio Frequence IDentification (RFID).




How does it work ?

An RFID system is composed of a base station also called interrogator and a target also called transponder. These two components communicated with radio waves and the communication mode will determine which RFID is used.

RFID can be active or passive. If it is an RFID active the target is composed of an issuer which issues its own radio wave. For passive RFID, the interrogator send a wave to the target and waits for an echo as an answer, the target has no issuer and so has to modify the interrogator’s wave. When the wave is modified the interrogator knows that he has communicated.


What’s the point ?

The RFID technology allows to identify people or objects, to track products, to read transportation tickets and passports.


Bluetooth: What is it ?

Bluetooth is a wireless network technology allowing electronic devices to exchange data at a short distance. This technology is used on smartphones.

There is an alternative to the classic Bluetooth it is called Bluetooth Low Energy, it allows you to keep the communication reach and reduce the cost and the energy consumption.

The Bluetooth Low Energy is compliant with other Bluetooth technologies.


What’s the point ?

The Bluetooth technology allow users to transfer data between devices in a quick and efficient way.


Bluetooth and smartphones

The Bluetooth technology is used on smartphones and allowed to improve the connection between smartphones but it also helped developing quickly wireless accessories like earphones.

If you want more informations on RFID and NFC you can download our white book on this topic here


Published on 07/10/2018

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