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You have probably heard these two terms a lot lately: NFC and RFID. You probably also know that both of these technologies have something to do with wireless scanning, chips, tags and readers – and you are right.
NFC is part of the RFID technology, representing just one of the Radio-frequency identification standarts.
But a lot of people still don’t really know (yet) what the difference between NFC and RFID is! Let’s look at the definitions of the separate technologies first and then look at how they are different.
“RFID (Radio-frequency identification) is a wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects.”
“NFC (Near Field Communication) is a set of standards for [devices] to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.”
NFC vs. RFID:
- NFC is a subset of RFID technology
- NFC tags are short range (up to 4 inches / 10cm), RFID tags can be scanned from a greater distance of up to 300 feet (100 meters)
- NFC is capable of two-way or P2P communication
- You can scan multiple RFID tags at once, but only one NFC tag at a time
RFID tags are widely used for industrial and business purposes, such as checking inventory in a warehouse or tracking luggage at airports, whereas NFC is commonly used on a more “simple” or consumer-oriented level. This mainly happens because RFID equipment, in general, costs more than NFC equipment.
There is a big chance that your Android smartphone already has NFC reading capabilities, so the only thing left for you is to buy some NFC tags. Also, make sure to check out our post about the most creative uses for NFC tags.