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11 October 2012

New NFC Forum Analog Specification Clears the Path to Device Interoperability

The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has approved and adopted the NFC Analog technical specification, which is available now to the public for download at no charge. This new specification is a major step forward in the NFC Forum's goal of global interoperability because it makes it easier for device manufacturers to build NFC Forum-compliant devices. It addresses the analog characteristics of the RF interface of an NFC-enabled device, and it is intended for use by manufacturers wanting to implement such devices.

The NFC Analog specification is focused on the analog characteristics of the RF interface of an NFC-enabled device. It characterizes and specifies the externally observable radio signals for an NFC-enabled device, without specifying the design of its antenna. This includes power requirements (determining operating volume), transmission requirements, receiver requirements, and signal forms (time/frequency/modulation characteristics). In doing so, it provides a common interface to the NFC chip, thereby giving manufacturers greater flexibility to use NFC chips from different suppliers without putting device interoperability at greater risk.

The NFC Analog specification brings the total of NFC published specifications to 17, with one additional candidate specification at this time. The new specification has been adopted in final form after a validation period and subsequent votes by NFC Forum membership and Board. Access to all NFC Forum specifications is found on the Forum's website.

"With the new NFC Analog specification we offer the industry a solution that will lead to improved global interoperability between NFC devices," said Koichi Tagawa, NFC Forum Chairman, "and because it also streamlines testing and certification, it will accelerate the introduction of NFC-enabled devices into the market. We greatly appreciate the efforts of all our members who worked to deliver this milestone specification."

The scope of the specification covers the analog interface of the NFC Forum Device in its four roles (Peer Mode Initiator, Peer Mode Target, Reader/Writer Mode and Card Emulation Mode) for all three technologies (NFC-A, NFC-B, and NFC-F) and for all the different bit rates (106 kbps, 212 kbps, and 424 kbps). The document specifies the RF characteristics in such a way that interoperability issues arising from the radio link are minimized, providing a basis for testing and approvals that draws upon the experience of related work.


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