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NFC and Interoperability
NFC represents a converging evolution of existing contactless standards toward the goal of global interoperability. The NFC Forum takes both a structural and a pragmatic approach to give maximum assurance that this goal can be met.
Structurally, NFC Forum specifications are based on existing and recognized standards like ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 14443-2,3,4, as well as JIS X6319-4. They are implementation specifications that describe the parts of those standards that are relevant for NFC Forum devices. Therefore, compliant devices behave in the most consistent way, and the evolution of existing infrastructure toward full NFC is facilitated.
The Certification Program, which checks devices for compliance with NFC Forum specifications, is being launched in waves as NFC Forum specifications evolve. Currently, certification includes testing for the lower-level digital protocols, specifically the Tag Operation specifications for the different tag types, the NFC Digital Protocol Specification, and the NFC Activity Specification. Moving forward, certification will also include testing for the physical layer ("NFC RF Analogue Technical Specification") and selected upper-level digital protocols ("NFC Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP) Technical Specification" and "NFC Simple NDEF Exchange Protoco (SNPE) Technical Specification").
Pragmatically, the NFC Forum offers its members the opportunity to participate in PlugFest events, held throughout the year, where NFC solution providers can anonymously test the interoperability of their products with other NFC products through hands-on experiments. This process can be applied to certified devices as well as equipment and software that has not been certified.
The illustration below describes the different components of the technical architecture of NFC in more detail.