RFID vs NFC: What is the Difference Between RFID and NFC ?

RFID and NFC are two very similar wireless communication technologies, and they are used in many applications. RFID vs NFC: what is the difference between RFID and NFC?

RFID, radio frequency identification, is a general term for all contactless communication, and NFC is a subset of RFID. It is a wireless technology mainly used to transmit data. Its main purpose is to automatically trace and track the RFID tags attached to objects. RFID frequency range includes: low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF). Reading range of LF and HF systems is usually only several centimeters. While, reading distance of UHF tag is usually more than one meter.

NFC, near field communication, based on RFID protocol, with short reading distance. The main difference with RFID is that the NFC device can not only act as a reader, but also as a tag in card emulation mode. And in peer-to-peer mode, information can also be transferred between two NFC devices. NFC reading distance usually very short, no more than 5cm. It is mostly used for cashless payment, membership management, transportation, access control, business process management, labor management and e-government.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)NFC (Near Field Communication)
RFID is item centirc, NFC is user centric, and NFC is a subset of RFID.
Invented in the 1980’sInvented in 2002
* Improves upon printed barcodes
Does not require line of sight
Increased read range
Can be read quickly in batches
Improves upon QR codes
Does not require line of sight
Increased security
Added intelligence
Stores and transmits simple ID’sStores and transmits multiple data types
Inventory tracking through the supply chainAdds utility to products during use
Loss preventionProduct authentication
Time to connect: <1msTime to connect: <1ms
Read Range:
(passive) 1m-10m
(active) 10m-100m
Read Range: 0cm-5cm
Tag Reader:
Fixed infrastructure reader
Handheld reader
Tag Reader: Smartphone
Tag Price: <$0.10Tag Price: >$0.10
What can RFID be used for?What can NFC be used for?
* Track and trace inventory management (Locate items within a space)
Loss prevention (Alerts stolen products)
* Access control
Race timing (Provides a seamless race-day experience)
Attendee tracking (Eliminates registration lines)
Pet / livestock identification
Content Channel (Embedded experiences, exclusive content, messaging, product gamification)
Customer acquisition across sales channels (Product registration, store check-in)
Product authentication / Brand protection
Mobile payments (Upsell experience, Resell experience)
Product Lifecycle

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