NFC (Near Field Communication), RFID

       It is all about NFC technology applications, RFID tags, ISO/IEC14443, ISO/IEC18092. Information about near field communication RFID technologies.

Edited by Lim Siong Boon, last dated 03-Mar-2012.

email:    contact->email_siongboon  

website: http://www.siongboon.com


Topic Discussion Overview

  1. RFID Introduction
  2. RFID Tags
  3. Tag Packaging
  4. RFID Reader
  5. NFC
  6. Card Reader IC
  7. Magnetic materials

 

1. RFID Introduction

 

 

 




Having the Right Mindset for RFID technology.

RFID is known as Radio Frequency IDentification. The technology is able to wireless-ly picking up information from a RFID tag which can be embedded onto most object. Fast and reliable. RFID has helped to rise up our productivity.

The process starts with the RFID reader transmitting power and command wireless-ly. The RFID tag intecept the energy to power up itself. It starts to decode the request commanded and transmit the result back to the RFID reader. All these happen instantly with microseconds.

Many of the old technologies (bar-code, magnetic stripe, smart card) can be replaced by RFID system, but rate of adoption rate is slow. Examples of applications that the RFID have completely taken over are, security door access system and transportation payment card. Comparing RFID over the old technologies, it is perceive to be more expensive. The technology do has its advantages and disadvantages, which is why not all applications use RFID.

People likes to compare RFID to a bar-code system which is a cheaper alternative. The fact is, RFID tag will never be as cheap as a printed bar-code. It is more complex than bar-code. No matter how big the production volume will be, it will not be cheaper than the bar-code. Using a RFID to perform barcode application is analogy to hiring an engineer to do simple office cleaning work. No company would be in the right set of mind to invest in a expnsive solution to replace what a cheaper solution would solved.

People also think of RFID technology as a solution. RFID unique and good, but it can only solve part of the problem that we are facing in our life. You can analogy it to a very good engineer that you have hired. He/she has all the skills and know-how to design a quality system that no one else can, but there are no proper tools and equipments provided. Only a broom and a dustpan is provided. The engineer will be as good as a cleaner. RFID is designed to solve certain problem very efficiently. By itself, it cannot do any much. It has to work hand in hand with another good technology.

RFID has its own unique properties that no other technology is able replace it completely. Applying RFID technology to its advantage, to the right application will be the key to success adoption. If you want RFID system to be successful, you cannot think using a bar-code brain.

This site is dedicated to understand more about the properties of RFID technology, hence allowing us to apply its unique leading edge where no other technologies can replace. The focus will be mainly in the RFID for ISO/IEC14443 (HF 13.56MHz RFID system) which has a near perfect characteristic for interaction between humans and object; and also information on ISO/IEC18092 (NFC protocol implementation) which is the new trend on applying RFID technology. With the growing number of NFC mobile phones being launch, we can clearly see that the industry is committed in making our life more productive.

Let us start by a simple overview of various technologies that is related to RFID. We can easily see the advantages/disadvantages that the RFID can have in the application of tagging and identification.

 

 

Comparison chart of tagging/identification technologies

Description Form factor
can be like
like a thicker
credit card
Technology name LF RFID
(LF Passive)
HF RFID
(HF Passive)
UHF RFID
(UHF Passive)
Active RFID Tag
(UHF Active)
2D Barcode Barcode Smart Card Magnetic Stripe Light Sound
small in size
conceal easily
contain more information
attach to odd shaped object  
attach to object with metal surface or liquid content
store information
durable
passive (no need battery)
contactless
no need to be line of sight
retrieve data fast
secured communication
low cost
far reading distance
simple to manufacture
frequency
<135KHz
13.56MHz
868-950MHz
433-5.8GHz






read distance
low
0-15cm
low-medium
0-1.5m
0-15cm (NFC)
far
up to 10m
very far
more than 10m
to km






data rate
4-8kbps
6.7-848kbps


















 

 Selecting guide your RFID technologies. Click here -> rfid-guide.pdf

 

 

www.pic-control.com, Singapore Network Ethernet WiFi RS232 RS485 USB I/O Controller

 

 

2. RFID Tags

HF RFID tag
125KHz / 13.56MHz

UHF RFID tag
860 – 960 MHz / 2.4Ghz

Click to enlarge the picture.

 


Basic RFID Tag

RFID tag, is also known as RFID Transponders. The tag is make up of three basic components. An IC chip, an antenna or coil, and a substrate that holds the chip and antenna/coil together.

The picture on the left shows two typical tag design. The one on the left is a coil design. It is mean for LF/HF RFID tag (low/high frequency) that operates in a low frequency range. The tag uses induction method as a means for power and communication. The UHF RFID tag (ultra high frequency) on the right uses a dipole antenna design. The tag uses RF transmission (radio frequency operating at a much higher frequency) method to obtain its power and achieve communication.

Higher frequency tag is able to transmit information faster, and need less energy to receive/transmit information compare to a tag that uses lower frequency; lower frequency takes more time. Antenna helps to transmit the signal can be smaller at higher frequency. With the signal transmitting out of the antenna, tag can be read at a further distance away.

At this stage in time, you may think that a UHF tag is better than a HF tag. You can be right and wrong. A tag that can be read at a far away distance can be good. The same property will not be good if you need to get hold of a specify tag but end up with all the rest of the tag nearby. There is little value in defining the good and bad. What is more important, is understanding the property of what it can or cannot do, and apply its properties to its advantage. This depends mainly on the application.

For the application of tagging an object, I have valued HF tags more than the other alternative technologies. Passive RFID tag using HF or NFC has a higher potential in solving problems relating to interraction betweeen living things and physical object. This which will be further presented as another topic in another site.

 

This is a finger that I have downloaded from the internet. Notice the black square dot on the middle of the finger. That is the RFID transponder IC chip which can be found on a RFID tag. You can hardly see it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IC chip for RFID tag

The IC chip on the RFID tag is very very small; not much bigger than a gain of sand (see photo on the left). This makes the tag small enough for a lot of purpose. This IC contains memory which can store information. The cost of the chip is proportional to the memory size and functional it has. The IC chip needs power to operate. It will get its power from its antenna. The tag's antenna will capture the energy transmitted by the RFID reader. The RFID reader will generate the RF energy from its own antenna when a read command is initiated.

There is a limit distance in which the antenna can effectively capture the RF energy for powering up the tag. This distance will depends on the transmitting power from the RFID reader, as well as the size of the tag's coil. The bigger the coil on the tag, the further the distance. As a rule of thumb, a bigger tag is expected to achieve a further read distance than a smaller tag..

**pic of transmitting energy from induction stove, RFID reader. Coil with LED. big tag further distance. higher power further distance

When the tag received enough power to operate, the IC will immediately power up, and response to the command from the RFID reader. The tag will usually read the binary information contains in its memory and send them back to the reader. The basic form of read information will be the tag identification number. If the tag contains additional user data, the reader can issue command to read them all. All these process happens within micro seconds.

RFID tag is essentially similar to a memory card. Similar to the flash memory card that we have been using for our digital camera, the RFID tag is using wireless power/communication, and has much less memory. The memory available can be as little as a few bytes to store the tag ID, to about 8Kbyte to store other user's data. Each alphabet letter takes about 1byte of space, so a 8Kbyte memory can store about 8000 characters. The higher memory capacity tag will usually cost a bit more.

The LF RFID tags that I have seen can only be read. HF tags can be read/write. It is also possible to protect the tag from data writing. Some IC chip is able to kill the tag, therefore prevent a read from the tag, rendering the tag useless.

Depending on the chip, tags can be pre-programmed during the manufacturing to contain the same or unique ID no. (identification number). An unique ID no. for each tags will enable the reader to differential the multiple tags read.

LF and HF tags uses induction method and has a short reading distance <10cm. UHF tags can go as far as 10m. The distance will varies with varies RFID reader's transmitting power and antenna/coil size. A bigger size antenna will usually have a longer read distance.

 

 

Ferrite raw material in powder form
Ferrite bead commonly used for EMI on cable.
Ferrite sheet is form like a rubber mat and can be cut and place behind the RFID tag to improve readibility.

 

Fig 1. Magnetic field pattern of a typical RFID operation.
Fig 2. Magnetic field interference when RFID tag is stick close to a metal surface.
Fig 3. Improve magnetic field operation with a ferrite sheet between the tag and metal surface.

Fig 4. Cross section of the magnetic field detected

 

 

RFID operation with metalic or liquid objects

RFID has difficulty operating near metalic, liquid object (water bottle/ human body). Induction field around the tags will be collapse by these object. A minimum gap away from such object is required for proper operation. Metal surface can block/reflect RF signal, causing distortion to the signal, making it difficult to read the tag. There are special anti-metal tags (RFID Metal Pad) that allows RFID to operate under such tough condition. These tags are padded with a sheet of ferrite material behind the tag. The sheet actually forms the gap between the tag and the metal surface, allowing the tag to be read through the RF. The ferrite is itself a RF friendly material which permits the RF & field to sustain. With this padding, the tag readability can be improve slightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferrite sheet is available from:

TDK, FLEXIELD material

MARUWA, FLEX-u sheet

Active RFID tag

Active RFID tag with sensor attached

 

 

Active RFID tag with built-in sensor

Active RFID tag (sef powered, usually a battery) operates like a typically electronic transceiver device. Reading distance is a lot further than a passive RFID tag (not self power). The operations is similar to a passive tag where the reader will be able to retrieve the tag information when it is near enough. Some call the tag a signal beacon, where the tag keeps sending signal out. The tag can be read at a much further distance. This is because it has its own power source and do not need to harvest from the reader.

There are active tags that have built in sensor. The temperature/humidity sensor for example, will be operated by the RFID tag and send back the temperature read back to the reader. The battery usually last quite sometime, but it will definately need replacement one day.

Buy your NFC Tag Now at the PIC-store

 

Three typical standard among RFID tags
- LF tag (Low Frequency 125KHz) ISO11784 / ISO11785
- HF or NFC tag (High Frequency 13.56MHz) ISO/IEC 14443
- UHF tag (Ultra High Frequency EPC Class 1 Gen2)

Tag's IC chip Standard Frequency Memory
EM4001   125KHz 64byte
EM4305 ISO11784/ ISO11785 125KHz 512byte
NXP Hitag 1   125KHz 2048bit
NXP Hitag 2 ISO11784/85 125KHz 256bit
NXP Hitag S ISO11784/85 125KHz 256/2048bit
Atmel Temic T5567 ISO11784/85 125KHz 363bit
Atmel Temic T5557 ISO11784/85 125KHz 363bit
       
NXP Mifare Ultralight, MF0 IC U1X

ISO/IEC14443A
NFC Forum Tag Type 2

13.56MHz

64byte
7 bytes tag ID
16pgx4b

NXP Mifare Ultralight C, MF0 IC U2X

ISO/IEC14443A,
NFC Forum Tag Type 2

13.56MHz 192byte
7 bytes tag ID
48pgx4b
NXP Mifare Classic Mini, S20 ISO/IEC14443A 13.56MHz 320byte
4 bytes tag ID
NXP Mifare Classic 1k, MF1 S50

ISO/IEC14443A

13.56MHz 1Kbyte
4 bytes tag ID
16 sectors x64b
NXP Mifare Classic 4k, MF1 S70

ISO/IEC14443A

13.56MHz 4Kbyte
4 bytes tag ID
32 sectors x64b
8 sectors x256b

NXP Mifare Plus S 2K, MF1 SPLUS 60
(replace Mifare Classic series )

ISO/IEC14443A 13.56MHz 2Kbyte
7 bytes tag ID
32 sectors x64b

NXP Mifare Plus S 4K, MF1 SPLUS 80
(replace Mifare Classic series )

ISO/IEC14443A
7 bytes tag ID
13.56MHz 4Kbyte
7 bytes tag ID
32 sectors x64b
8 sectors x256b

NXP Mifare Plus X 2K, MF1 PLUS 60
(replace Mifare Classic series )

ISO14443 13.56MHz 4Kbyte
7 bytes tag ID
32 sectors x64b
8 sectors x256b

NXP Mifare Plus X 4K, MF1 PLUS 80
(replace Mifare Classic series )

ISO14443 13.56MHz 4Kbyte
7 bytes tag ID
32 sectors x64b
8 sectors x256b

NXP Mifare DESFire EV1,
MF3 IC D21
MF3 IC D41

MF3 IC D81

ISO/IEC14443A
NFC Forum Tag Type 4

13.56MHz

2/4/8Kbyte
7 bytes tag ID
flexible file system

NXP SmartMX

ISO/IEC14443A
NFC Forum Tag Type 4

13.56MHz  
NXP MIFARE SAM AV2 ISO/IEC 14443A 13.56MHz  
Innovision Topaz

ISO/IEC14443A
NFC Forum Tag Type 1

13.56MHz 96byte
Sony FeliCa lite ISO 18092 13.56MHz  
Sony FeliCa

ISO 18092
NFC Forum Tag Type 3

13.56MHz 1/4/9Kbyte
TI TAG-IT lite   13.56MHz 256bit
TI TAG-IT ISO 15693 13.56MHz 2048bit
NXP ICODE EPC EPC 13.56MHz 136byte
NXP ICODE 1 ICODE 1 13.56MHz 512byte
NXP ICODE SLI-L ISO15693/ ISO18000/ EPC 13.56MHz 512bit
NXP ICODE SLI ISO15693/ ISO18000 13.56MHz 1024bit
NXP ICODE SLI-S ISO15693/ ISO18000/ EPC 13.56MHz 2048bit
Legic MIM256   13.56MHz 256byte
Legic MIM1024   13.56MHz 1024byte
Legic ATC-MV ISO15693 13.56MHz 128/256/1024byte
Legic ATC-MP ISO/IEC14443A 13.56MHz 0.5/2/4Kbyte
INSIDE PicoPass 2KS ISO14443B/ ISO15693 13.56MHz 2Kbyte
       
NXP UCODE HSL ISO18000-6B 2.4 GHz 2048 bit
NXP UCODE EPC Gen2 EPC Class 1 Gen2 860 – 960 MHz 512 bit
NXP UCODE G2XL EPC Class 1 Gen2 860 – 960 MHz 368 bit
NXP UCODE G2XM EPC Class 1 Gen2 860 – 960 MHz 880 bit
Alien Higgs 2   860 – 960 MHz  
Alien Higgs 3   860 – 960 MHz  
       
Innovision Jewel      
ISSI4442      
ISSI4428      
ISSIM1      
Infineon SLE5542      
Infineon SLE4428      
Infineon SLE4442      
Infineon SLE5528      
Infineon SLE6636      
Atmel 24C16/24      
Atmel 24C64/128      
Atmel 24C512/1024      
Atmel AT88SC0204C      
Atmel AT88SC0404C      
Atmel AT88SC1616C      
Atmel AT88SC3216C      
Atmel AT88SC0808C      
Atmel AT88SC1608      
       
Java      
JCOP      

Good RFID tag reference information, http://www.gorferay.com

 

RFID tag IC chip and standard

When dealing with RFID tags or reader, we will often come across various ISO standards. These ISO defines a common standard for the hardware or software to interact with one another.

The LF RFID (125Khz), ISO11784/ISO11785 is a common standard.

For UHF RFID, it is EPC Gen2 or EPCglobal UHF Class 1 Generation 2

For HF there are standard ISO15693, ISO14443 and ISO18092 (NFC). For NFC, we will focus on ISO14443 and ISO18092.


Some notes regarding NFC standards or ISO18092 (from website http://users.skynet.be/marc.sel/index-MTC.html)

In transport applications, cards suffer from daily use, for which reason contactless cards are preferred. Contact cards are more prone to hardware wear-out, hence contactless cards are better suited in the transport sector. This led to the creation of the RFID standard, ISO 14443, composed of 4 parts. It operates in the non-licensed 13.56 Mhz band. As there were two main "competitors", there are two substandards:

  • ISO 14443 type A (origine: NXP)
  • ISO 14443 type B (origine: RATP)

Later under impetus from Sony, the NFC standard was established as ISO 18092. It's a backward compatible extension to RFID, mainly aiming at use in mobile phones. It's was actually proposed as ISO 14443 type C by Sony, based on FeliCa. It's used e.g. in the Hong Kong Octopus and Singapore EZ-link systems. It did not make it to the 14443 standard, but came back as NFC.

Article for ISO/IEC 14443

 

Mifare Tag ID issues (tag ID unqiue?)

Mifare name comes from the "MIkron FARE Collection System". Mikron was aquired by Philips (NXP) in 1998. Given the Mifare Classic tag ID of 4 bytes, will the tag ID run out of unique ID?

 

 

 

RFID tag/transponder IC manufacturer

NXP Semiconductors, Mifare RFID transponder IC manufacturer
Alien Technology, has many UHF tags
ST microelectronic
EM Microelectronic
Texas Instruments
Legic
Inside Contactless
Atmel
Siemens (infineon)
 

Innovation Research & Technology

  ISSI

 

 

 

 

 

www.pic-control.com, Singapore Network Ethernet WiFi RS232 RS485 USB I/O Controller

 

 

3. Tag Packaging

 

Common RFID tag packaging

 

**Packaging (find chinese terms)
- inlay (wet/dry)

Reference:
http://www.skyrfid.com/RFID_Tag_Inlays.php

 

     

 

Inlay (dry)

Dry inlay is the fundenmental building block for RFID tag. They are usually be further packaged into RFID tag products. The term "dry" means that it does not have adhesive on it's tag surface. The inlay can comes in roll or sheet form.

RFID in roll form

RFID in sheet form

 

Common size:
35x35mm
43x26mm
50x30mm
85.5x54mm

 

Inlay layer and thickness  
Layer:
IC:75um-150um
Al(TOP)30um
PET:38um
AL(Bottom):10um

 

Layer within a RFID card  
Different layer of a package RFID card. The RFID inlay is sandwiched between the PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and next with printed PET/PVC (polyethylene terephthalate) finishing.

 

 

 

Inlay (wet)

Wet inlay means that the inlay has adhesive on one of its side. The tag will be attached to a pressure sensitive liner base.

- sticker label

 

 

 

IDCard/Badge

These are hard PVC card about 1mm thickness. The card printing can be customised. There is also a special printer that prints on these plain tags.

- PVC/Plastic card
- glossy, matt paper

 

RFID Cards and tags printer  

Zebra

Intermec

 

ezlink using CEPAS card

FlashPay using CEPAS card

Visa Paywave

octopus card octopus cardwww.octopus.com.hk

 

Payment Card (Singapore)

Ezlink, based on the Sony FeliCa smartcard technology

Flash Pay

payWave

CEPAS = ISO/IEC 14443-4 + ISO/IEC 7816-4: 2005

 

- Singapore Standard, specification for contactless e-purse application

 

Octopus card, based on the Sony FeliCa smartcard technology

base on MIFARE DESFire EV1 card

  Label Stickers
key chain rfidkey chain rfidkey chain rfidkey chain rfid   Key Chain, Key Fob
  Waterproof Rubber Bracelet, Wrist band
  Patient Tag
  Lugagge Tag
  Button Tag, Washing Tag
  Disc or Ring Tag, Laundry Tag, Pucks
  Casino Game Token
  Fragile Tag, Security Tag
  Anti-Metal Tag
  Hard Tag
  Pill
  CD label

  UHF tags

 

RFID Tag manufacturer

HID

 

Intermec

 

Avery Dennison
Alien Technology, has many UHF tags

 

 

 

 

 

4. RFID Reader




 

RFID reader is getting more and more common. Nowsaday Windows & mobile phone OS has built in driver treating RFID reader as a standard device.

Common RFID interface
RS232
RS485
Wiegand
USB
Ethernet

 

 

USB RFID reader kit

  OEM board
  Door Access Security
  Mobile phone NFC / RFID reader
  Payment station
  UHF RFID reader and Antenna

 

RFID Reader manufacturer

HID

 

Intermec
Alien Technology, has many UHF tags
Motorola
   

 

   

 

 

 

5. NFC

 

NFC (Near Field Communication)

 

NFC phone to phone,

Phone to RFID tag

 

NFC currently use for Payment, transportation payment.

Instantly access to webpage,

Instant bluetooth/WiFi connectivity.


Reference:

- NFC Tags A technical introduction, applications and products, R_10014

- Understanding the Requirements of ISO IEC 14443

- MIFARE Ultralight as Type 2 Tag, AN1303

- NFC Type MIFARE Classic Tag Operation, AN1304

- MIFARE Classic as NFC Type MIFARE Classic Tag, AN1305

- MIFARE Type Identification Procedure, AN10833

 

 

6. Card Reader IC

 

 

13.56MHz RFID card reader IC

Reader IC Manufacturer Standards & Protocol Interface
CL RC663 NXP NFC Tag Type Reader
ISO14443A
ISO14443B
ISO15693
MIFARE Classic support
ICODE 1 protocol
HF EPC protocol
ISO 18092 (NFC)
SPI
2x IC
RS232
CL RC632 NXP NFC Tag Type Reader
ISO14443A
ISO14443B
ISO15693
MIFARE Classic support
ICODE 1 protocol
HF EPC protocol
SPI
8-bit parallel
MF RC531
NXP NFC Tag Type Reader
ISO14443A
ISO14443B
MIFARE Classic support
SPI
8-bit parallel
MF RC523 NXP NFC Tag Type Reader
ISO14443A
ISO14443B
MIFARE Classic support
SPI
IC
RS232
MF RC500
MF RC530
NXP NFC Tag Type Reader
ISO14443A
MIFARE Classic support
8-bit parallel
MF RC522 NXP NFC Tag Type Reader
ISO14443A
MIFARE Classic support
SPI
IC
RS232
CR95HF ST microelectronics   SPI
UART
TRF7970A Texas Instruments    
TRH033M-S 3ALogics    
       

 

 

Getting to understand RFID was quite a confussing experience, with so many technical jargon. This was the reason why this website is setup; to sort out all the technical stuff into bits and pieces.

Card Reader is another interest topic to looking. A card reader helps to read out the information in a tag. An RFID reader is not a different device to understand, but not the card reader.

What is the difference between an RFID reader and a card reader? The RFID reader reads RFID tag. There are many variety of RFID standards in the industry. This means that there are also many type of RFID reader to read each type of card. (The type of cards was already presented above).

The variety of reader is going to make things complicated for developer who are developing application. This call for an universal solution known as ISO 7816. This is a standard defined for interfacing application with all smart card devices.

From what I read in the internet, this standard goes way back to the smart card technology. The smart card unlike RFID card is using wired communication to read the information on the card. You can identify it by the contact pins as shown in the following pic.

It is possible that a card has both the smart card as well as RFID card.

With the introduction of new form of card like RFID, the ISO 7816 evolve over time. ISO 7816 defines a standard interface for the card reader. The communication standard to a card reader device becomes a standard.

Article for ISO 7816 (specification for interfacing with card reader)

- AN4029, The DS8007 and Smart Card Interface Fundamentals

PCSC Personal Computer Smart Card is a standard framework for Smart Card access on Windows Platforms. This will make the job easier for application developers to interface to a card reader. To the developer, all card reader seems to work the same way.

The window operating system will automatically detects.

Interoperability Specification for ICCs and Personal Computer Systems

- PCSC_Part1, Introduction and Architecture Overview.pdf.pdf
- PCSC_Part2, Interface Requirements for Compatible IC Cards and
Readers.pdf

- PCSC_Part3, Requirements for PC-Connected Interface Devices.pdf
- PCSC_Part4, IFD Design Considerations and Reference Design
Information.pdf

- PCSC_Part5, ICC Resource Manager Definition.pdf
- PCSC_Part6, ICC Service Provider Interface Definition.pdf
- PCSC_Part7, Application Domain and Developer Design
Considerations.pdf

- PCSC_Part8, Recommendations for ICC Security and Privacy
Devices.pdf

 

My card reader

ACR122 NFC card reader from ACS.

Documentation
- PPE_ACR122, presentation.pdf
- API_ACR122U, Application Programming Interface.pdf
- TSP_ACR122U_v2.5, Technical Specification.pdf

Win7 64bits driver
- DIG_ACR122, Driver Installation Guide.pdf
- ACR122U_MSI_Winx64_1120_P

 

This is the first NFC card reader that I have brought. I have purchased this reader without any development kit, and was struck wondering how I can read a RFID tag without any software.

After understand about ISO 7816 and PCSC, I managed to find a number of free software that can communication with this NFC card reader. They are designed to work with PCSC compliants card reader.

- SCardToolSet, Smart Card ToolSet PRO v3.4
- sq2075-ba, SpringCard PCSC Diag
- online PCSC card reader program

The software are able to detect my card reader immediately. When my RFID tagis placed on the reader, the software detects it and display the tag information.

The very first unqiue string that was captured when I read the RFID tag is this string call ATR (Answer To Reset). It is a very weird name, because I was thinking that this should be the unqiue ID of the RFID tag. No it is not. This ATR string (as defined in ISO 7816) is telling us how we can communicate with the current tag found on the card reader.

This is the ATR string that I read when the tag (picture on the left) is on the reader

ATR = 3B 8F 80 01 80 4F 0C A0 00 00 03 06 03 00 03 00 00 00 00 68

So what does this hexidecimal string of number means?

Byte Name Comments
0x3B TS Direction convention
0x8F T0  
0x80 TD1 Higher nibble 8 means: no TA2, TB2, TC2, only TD2 is following. Lower nibble 0 means T=0
0x01 TD2 Higher nibble 8 means: no TA3, TB3, TC3, only TD3 is following. Lower nibble 1 means T=1
0x80 T1 Category indicator byte, 80 means A status indicator may be present in an optional COMPACT-TLV data object.
0x4F Tk Application identifier Presence Indicator
0x0C Length Length = 12 data byte (from next byte to check sum byte)
0xA0 0x00 0x00 0x03 0x06 RID PC/SC Workgroup
0x03 Standard ISO14443A, part 3
0x00 0x03 Card Name

Mifare Ultralight

00 01 Mifare 1K
00 02 Mifare 4K
00 03 Mifare Ultralight
00 26 Mifare Mini
F0 04 Topaz and Jewel
F0 11 Felica 212K
F0 12 Felica 424K

FF [SAK] undefined

0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00 RFU RFU # 00 00 00 00
68 TCK Check Sum. Ex-OR of all the bytes T0 to Tk

 

With this ATR string provided by my card reader, I will know more about the RFID tag that I am actually dealing with. The RFID tag that I have place is using the Mifare Ultralight tag's IC chip. ISO14443A is use for communication between the reader and the tag. The rest of the information seems not so useful to me.

 

To communicate with the card reader we will have to send a string of bytes to the card reader. The data format to communicate with the reader is known as APDU (Application Protocol Data Unit).

I have refered to the API (Application Programming Interface) datasheet provided by the card reader manufacturer. The first command to try is the command "Get Data". The command will fetch the unique ID of the tag.

data send -> FF CA 00 00 04
where CA is the <Get Data> command.

The following response bytes are received.

data received <- 04 06 CD E2 90 00
where "90 00" is the response code (The operation completed sucessfully)
" 04 06 CD E2" is the unique tag ID.

 

Next I tried to get the card reader firmware version.

data send -> FF 00 48 00 00
data received <- 41 43 52 31 32 32 55 32 31 30

The data received is "ACR122U210" in ascii format

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Mifare Ultralight tag 1, tag ID  

Another Mifare Ultralight tag1 was read for its ATR and tag ID

ATR = 3B 8F 80 01 80 4F 0C A0 00 00 03 06 03 00 03 00 00 00 00 68
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 04 (read tag ID)
APDU received <- 04 AA 2C 79 90 00

 

Reading Mifare Ultralight tag 2, tag ID  

Another Mifare Ultralight tag2 was read for its ATR and tag ID

ATR = 3B 8F 80 01 80 4F 0C A0 00 00 03 06 03 00 03 00 00 00 00 68
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 04 (read tag ID)
APDU received <- 04 2D 44 79 90 00

 

Reading Singapore Ezlink card (CEPAS card)

 

Next I tried another RFID tag. Our Singapore Ezlink card, which stores transportation logs in CEPAS format.

ATR = 3B 8C 80 01 50 72 23 AA 5E 1C 2D 94 11 F7 71 85 4F

When the tag is removed and placed on the reader again, the ATR string changes. This is unlike the previous tag where the ATR will remains the same for the same tag.

ATR = 3B 8C 80 01 50 21 0A 96 CF 1C 2D 94 11 F7 71 85 98
ATR = 3B 8C 80 01 50 B5 AE 55 A7 1C 2D 94 11 F7 71 85 03
ATR = 3B 8C 80 01 50 6D 83 67 F0 1C 2D 94 11 F7 71 85 93

The ATR tells us that it uses the application identifier 0x50. I don't know what it means.

 

Next I proceed to send read tag ID command.

ATR = 3B 8C 80 01 50 5D 83 48 22 1C 2D 94 11 F7 71 85 5E
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 04 (read tag ID)
APDU received <- 5D 83 48 22 90 00

ATR = 3B 8C 80 01 50 FE 15 0F A4 1C 2D 94 11 F7 71 85 AA
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 04 (read tag ID)
APDU received <- FE 15 0F A4 90 00

The tag ID changes with the ATR string. A closer look review that the tag ID is the same data as the substring in the ATR.

 

Reading DESFire EV1 2K tag  

A DESFire EV1 card ATR string is unexpectedly short.

ATR = 3B 81 80 01 80 80

The ATR string remains the same when the tag is

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- 84 D9 62 65 A2 3C A7 C8 91 AF

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- 91 CA

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- F3 A2 3C CC 2A 89 6E 51 91 AF

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- 91 CA

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- EB F4 A2 15 88 41 0C 3C 91 AF

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- 91 CA

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- FF 15 CD 6C 73 F0 28 D5 91 AF

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- 91 CA

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- BA B1 7A 2A 9C 23 C8 B7 91 AF

APDU send -> 90 0A 00 00 01 00 00
APDU received <- 91 CA

Loading a key to Mifare Ultralight  

Load
APDU send -> FF 82 00 00 06 FF FF FF FF FF FF
APDU received <- 90 00
(90 00 means ok)

 

Reading Mifare Ultralight memory (64 bytes)  

Read binary Page 0x04, 4 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 04
APDU received <- 31 39 30 39 90 00

Read binary Page 0x04, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 31 39 30 39 2D 2D 53 49 4F 4E 47 20 42 4F 4F 4E 90 00
(each page consist of 4 bytes)

Read binary Page 0x00, 256 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 00 FF
APDU received <- 63 00
(no information given)

Read binary Page 0x01, 256 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 01 FF
APDU received <- 63 00
(no information given)

Read binary Page 0x00, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 00 10
APDU received <- 04 06 CD 47 E2 87 28 81 CC 48 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read binary Page 0x01, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 01 10
APDU received <- E2 87 28 81 CC 48 00 00 00 00 00 00 31 39 30 39 90 00

Read binary Page 0x04, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 31 39 30 39 2D 2D 53 49 4F 4E 47 20 42 4F 4F 4E 90 00

Read binary Page 0x08, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 08 10
APDU received <- 20 4C 49 4D 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read binary Page 0x0C, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 0C 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read binary Page 0x10, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 10 10
APDU received <- 63 00
(no information given)

Read binary Page 0x10, 1 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 10 01
APDU received <- 63 00
(no information given, memory bank stop at page 0x0F)

Read binary Page 0x0F, 1 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 0F 01
APDU received <- 00 90 00

Read binary Page 0x0F, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 0F 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 04 06 CD 47 E2 87 28 81 CC 48 00 00 90 00
(16 bytes of data can be read from the last page 0x0F. There is no page 0x10, the data is actually from page 0x00)

Mifare tag memory data from page 0x01 to 0x0F read:

04 06 CD 47 E2 87 28 81 CC 48 00 00 00 00 00 00
31 39 30 39 2D 2D 53 49 4F 4E 47 20 42 4F 4F 4E20 4C 49 4D 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0000 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Total memory is 64 bytes.

Ascii message contains "1909--SIONG BOON LIM"

This tag is a Mifare Ultralight tag with memory of 64 bytes

byte 00 SN0 (serial number)
byte 01 SN1 (serial number)
byte 02 SN2 (serial number)
byte 03 BCC0
byte 04 SN3 (serial number)
byte 05 SN4 (serial number)
byte 06 SN5 (serial number)
byte 07 SN6 (serial number)
byte 08 BCC1
byte 09 Internal
byte 10 Lock0
byte 11 Lock1
byte 12 OPT0
byte 13 OPT1
byte 14 OPT2
byte 15 OPT3
byte 16 Data0
....
....
byte 64 Data47

Reading the tag ID full 7 byte serial number
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 07 (read full tag ID 7 byte)
APDU received <- 04 06 CD E2 87 28 81 90 00

Actual Tag ID is in the following sequence (high address, high byte),
SN6 SN5 SN4 SN3 SN2 SN1 SN0
 81  28  87  E2  CD  06  04

Try read tag ID 8 byte, not a correct read
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 08
APDU received <- 04 06 CD E2 87 28 81 90 90 00

Able to read a 0x90 data for the last byte but this data cannot be found within the tag's memory.

Reading Mifare Ultralight C memory (168 bytes)  

Read binary Page 0x29, 4 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 29 04
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 90 00
(ok)

Read binary Page 0x2A, 4 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 2A 04
APDU received <- 63 00
(not ok)

Total available page is 42 from 0x00 to 0x29.
Total memory is 42 pg x 4 bytes = 168 bytes

Reading Mifare Ultralight C memory (176 bytes)  

Read binary Page 0x2B, 4 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 2B 04
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 90 00
(ok)

Read binary Page 0x2C, 4 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 2C 04
APDU received <- 63 00
(not ok)

Total available page is 44 from 0x00 to 0x2B.
Total memory is 44 pg x 4 bytes = 176 bytes

Reading Mifare 1K memory, part 1  

Reading tag ID
APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 04 (read tag ID, 4 bytes)
APDU received <- 2B 2C 1E 95 90 00

APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 07 (read full tag ID, 7 bytes)
APDU received <- 2B 2C 1E 95 07 00 00 90 00

APDU send -> FF CA 00 00 08 (try read incorrect tag ID length)
APDU received <- 2B 2C 1E 95 07 00 00 90 90 00

Read from block 0x04, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 63 00

Reading from location fails

Authentication with a type A (0x60), key number 0x00 for memmory block 0x04
APDU send -> FF 86 00 00 05 01 00 04 60 00
APDU received <- 90 00

Read from block 0x04, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read ok.

Read from block 0x04, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read again ok.

Card is removed and place back on the reader.
Read from block 0x04, 16ytes

APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 63 00

Reading from location fails. The card will need to go through authentication again.

Reading Mifare 1K memory, part 2  

Authentication with a type A (0x60), key number 0x00 for memmory block 0x04
APDU send -> FF 86 00 00 05 01 00 04 60 00
APDU received <- 90 00

Read from block 0x04, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read ok.

Read from block 0x05, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 05 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read ok.

Read from block 0x06, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 06 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read ok.

Read from block 0x07, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 07 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read ok.

Read from block 0x08, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 08 10
APDU received <- 63 00

Reading not ok.

Read from block 0x03, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 03 10
APDU received <- 63 00

Reading not ok.

Authentication on block 0x04 can only allows reading of data for block 0x04 to 0x07 (which is on the same sector 1) for as many times without the tag leaving the card reader. Memory block 0x03, 0x08 cannot be read.

Mifare 1K tag memory block
Sector 00, Block 0x00 - 0x03 (16 bytes/block)
Sector 01, Block 0x04 - 0x07
....
....
Sector 14, Block 0x38 - 0x3B
Sector 15, Block 0x3C - 0x3F

 

Reading Mifare 1K memory, part 3  

Authentication with a type A (0x60), key number 0x00 for memmory block 0x3F
APDU send -> FF 86 00 00 05 01 00 3F 60 00
APDU received <- 90 00
Ok, reading the last block.

Read from block 0x3F, 16ytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 3F 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00

Read ok.

Authentication with a type A (0x60), key number 0x00 for memmory block 0x40
APDU send -> FF 86 00 00 05 01 00 40 60 00
APDU received <- 63 00

Not ok. (out of the 1K zone)

Reading Mifare 4K memory  

Reading Mifare 4K is the same as Mifare 1K. Only the memory map is different.

  Mifare 4K tag memory block
1K Sector 00, Block 0x00 - 0x03 (16 bytes/block)
Sector 01, Block 0x04 - 0x07
....
Sector 14, Block 0x38 - 0x3B
Sector 15, Block 0x3C - 0x3F
1K Sector 16, Block 0x40 - 0x43
Sector 17, Block 0x44 - 0x47
....
Sector 30, Block 0x78 - 0x7B
Sector 31, Block 0x7C - 0x7F
1K Sector 32, Block 0x80 - 0x8F
Sector 33, Block 0x90 - 0x9F
Sector 34, Block 0xA0 - 0xAF
Sector 35, Block 0xB0 - 0xBF
1K Sector 36, Block 0xC0 - 0xCF
Sector 37, Block 0xD0 - 0xDF
Sector 38, Block 0xE0 - 0xEF
Sector 39, Block 0xF0 - 0xFF


 

Writing Mifare Ultralight   Writing to block 0x04 with 4 bytes of data 00 01 02 03
APDU send -> FF D6 00 04 04 00 01 02 03
APDU received <- ?? ??
Reading Mifare Ultralight tag 1, containing NFC data  

Read binary Page 0x00, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 00 10
APDU received <- 04 AA 2C 0A 79 62 02 80 99 48 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00
(ok)

Read binary Page 0x04, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 04 10
APDU received <- FF FF FF FF 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00
(ok)

Read binary Page 0x08, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 08 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00
(ok)

Read binary Page 0x0C, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 0C 10
APDU received <- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 90 00
(ok)

Read binary Page 0x10, 16 bytes
APDU send -> FF B0 00 10 10
APDU received <- 63 00
(not ok)

Data Memory in the tag
04 AA 2C 0A 79 62 02 80 99 48 00 00 00 00 00 00
FF FF FF FF 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Seems like no NFC data inside.

 

 

www.pic-control.com, Singapore Network Ethernet WiFi RS232 RS485 USB I/O Controller


 

6. Magnetic Materials    

Any material can influence magnetic, it is a matter of the intensity.

Strong Magnetic Materials (Ferromagnetic materials)
- Iron
- Nickel
- Cobalt

Not Strong (Paramagnetic materials)
- Aluminum
- Magnesium
- Platinum

Weak (Diamagnetic materials)
- Copper
- Lead
- Sliver

 

   
     

 

 


Abbreviations

AID Application ID
APDU Application Protocol Data Unit
ATR Answer to Reset
ATS
Answer to Select
AFI Application Family Identifier
CBC
Cipher Block Chaining
CID Card Identifier (logical card address, ISO 14443-4)
DES
Data Encryption Standard, for more details about DES refer to [3].
DSFID Data storage format identifier
EDC
Error Detection Code
EGT Extra Guard Time
EOF
End of Frame
ETU Elementary time unit
KTT Key Transfer Transponder
NAD Node Address (ISO 14443-4)
NDEF NFC Data Exchange Format
OSI Open System Interconnection
OTP One time programmable
PCB Protocol Control Byte (ISO 14443-4)
PCON Protocol Configuration byte of the reader
PPS Protocol and Parameter Selection
RATS

Request for Answer to Select
R-block Receive ready block
REQA Request ISO Type A
REQB Request ISO Type B
S-block Supervisory block
SID Station ID
SFGT Guard time after RATS
SN Serial Number of a tag (a 32 bit number)
SOF Start of frame
TDES Triple DES
Value block 32 bit data block format. Used in ticketing application


 

 

**Tag making video (or machine)

 

 

 

 




Reference:

Keyword: NFC (near field communication), RFID (radio frequency identification), RFID Reader/Writer, Internet of Things, Productivity