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Do you know the difference between NFC and RFID?

Have you ever thought about the differences between NFC and RFID? Their uses? Their benefits? And how each of them functions? Well, we’ve got you covered!


Starting off with Radio Frequency Identification tags, most commonly known as RFID tags, they are smart labels functioning on wireless technology that are typically used for tracking moving vehicles, equipment, merchandise or packages. RFID tags are a type of tracking system that uses radio waves to search, identify, track, and communicate with items and people.


Now moving on to NFC, or Near Field Communication, it is also a wireless technology but only allows for short-range communication between compatible devices, one of which is the transmitting device and the other is the receiving device. NFC is a branch of High-Frequency RFID that can only be used for close-proximity communication. Simply, NFC technology employs an alternating magnetic field, which does not entail the release of power in the form of radio waves. This prevents interference between identical devices or radio transmissions running at the same frequency from forming.


So, how do these technologies function, and how exactly are they different?


Despite that both technologies appear very similar, they function very differently. NFC technology only operates in close proximity and is capable of two-way communication; whereas, RFID can read tags from further distances, up to 10m, making it the ideal solution for vehicle identification and access.


Unlike RFID tags, only one tag can be read at a time with NFC technology. This limits its capabilities and makes RFID tags better suited to when there are many trackable components prevalent in manufacturing facilities or when tracking fast moving vehicles.


With respect to storage, NFC technology can store and transmit multiple types of data. Due to its larger storage space, NFC devices can store and transmit more data than RFID devices that can only carry simple ID information, making NFC more suitable for transferring payment details, membership, and ticket information.


Finally, NFC readers are more cost efficient compared to RFID solutions due to their reduced reading range, making NFC a more suitable solution for companies operating on smaller budgets.


Therefore, NFC is best utilized for securely transferring a variety of data over short intervals, which explains its popularity in digital business cards and payment applications i.e. credit cards. While RFID, is better suited for tracking fast-paced moving objects such as merchandise and vehicles.