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NFC Tag Roles

NFC tags also have four modes of operation:

  • reader/writer and card
  • initiator and target

These modes outline the role of a device or tag in an NFC transaction. Devices are able to switch between more than one role depending on the transaction being processed.

Reader/Writer and Card

Typical transactions are those found when an active device (smartphone) sends out signals and receives information; and when a passive device (NFC tag) simply sends information and does not receive anything other than instructions on what data to reply with. However, smartphones can take on the role of card when they act as a credit card for contactless payments. In this instance the card reader becomes the reader/writer and the smartphone serves as the passive card device.


Initiator and Target

NFC’s major advantage over other technologies such as RFID is its ability to create peer-to-peer sharing between two phones. The phone making the connection or sending the invitation is the ‘initiator’ and the phone receiving the instructions and sending back information is the ‘target’. Both phones however are capable of both roles by switching back and forth depending on what transmission is being sent.


NFC also has three signalling technologies exist which enable NFC devices to talk to one another - find more on our NFC signalling techologies page

For more info on Electro-Com's NFC products please please contact us