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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bluetooth And NFC: Close Quarters Communication

Both Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) are technologies based on the principle of wireless communication between multiple devices within a short radius. The main difference between the two technologies is that NFC is geared towards communication within just a few centimeters whereas Bluetooth allows communication usually within a 10 meter radius. 

NFC works by inductive-coupling, which involves loosely coupled inductive circuits being used to share both data and power between devices using short distance high frequency wireless communication. The main uses of this technology are being found in mobile payment systems and identification systems. Google has recently begun using NFC in it's Android OS as a means of using mobile phones as credit cards at stores. The idea is that instead of having to carry around multiple cards you would just take out your phone and place it on a transmission pad allowing all payments to be sent through your device. 

Bluetooth is a proprietary protocol for short range communication between devices with a high level of security baked in. The technology was developed by Telecom Vendor Ericsson and operates over ISM band of 2.4 GHz. Bluetooth works as a master slave system which means that one master device can connect to multiple slave devices and communicate via packets of data. Recent upgrades to Bluetooth have allowed for lower power consumption and faster data rates. You can now find Bluetooth technology in everything from computers, cars, phones, headsets, and keyboards. 

The advantage of NFC over Bluetooth is that setup time is far less in that two devices can pair together in roughly 0.1 seconds however while Bluetooth has a longer setup time it also can operate at further distances, up to 10 meters, and can also communicate much faster at 2.4Mb/s compared to NFC data rates of roughly 424Kb/s. Both technologies have their places in the world and are good for their own specific tasks, NFC with secure payments and Bluetooth with data communication. The uses for these technologies is sure to continue to expand over the near future and we can be certain to see both NFC and Bluetooth in electronic devices for many years to come.

Which communication technology do you think is better? Leave your comments in the section below and be sure to give that follow button a lil click. Make sure to spread the word about the blog and until next time. See ya.

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