RFID and NFC are similar, but they are not the same, as many people believe. Understanding the differences between them will help you make the best choice for your needs.

Overview of RFID vs. NFC

RFID identifies and tracks items with radio waves. NFC is a subset of RFID. It uses High-Frequency radio waves, which means it’s able to transmit data securely without worry of being intercepted. NFC is a reader and tag combined, while RFID is comprised of a tag and separate reader.

Learning More About RFID and NFC

RFID has a tag, reader and antenna. The reader receives information from the tag by way of the antenna.

Tags can be active or passive. Active tags have their own power source. They can be read up to 100 meters. Passive tags don’t have their own power source, so they get power from the reader. The range for detection of these tags is 25 meters.

Tags come in three frequencies: low (125 – 134 kHz), high (13.56 MHz), and ultra high (856 MHz to 960 MHz.

NFC is used mostly for peer-to-peer communication. Businesses use it for contactless payment, such as with smartphone payments like Apply Pay. Another example of NFC is the ability for data to be passed from one smartphone to another simply by tapping devices together.

With NFC, you won’t get the detection distance you do with RFID. You may have four inches.

The other limitation of NFC is that it can only be scanned one at a time. With RFID, multiple tags can be scanned simultaneously.

Uses of RFID vs. NFC

RFID are best when tracking inventories. A tag can be placed on items and then those items can be tracked when they pass a defined location or some other preset criteria. You can place tags on as many items as you need to, and as people use them, they will be tracked.

NFC is more for data processing. NFC tags can make it possible to transmit personal information from one device to another, and then back again from the receiving device. This is perfect for paying for information with a smartphone or to give people your contact information simply by touching one NFC device to another NFC device.

As you can see, the two are very different, but they use the same type of technology. Their application differs, so you need to decide which one would be best in achieving your goals.

Contact Us for More Information

We can help you understand RFID and NFC more thoroughly, so you can make the best decision possible for your needs. Contact us today to speak with our RFID specialists.

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