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Near-Field Communications (NFC)
Technically, NFC is a subset of RFID. NFC technology has been around for the better part of a decade. In
the United States, it has only recently taken off with the proliferation of smartphones, most of which now
incorporate NFC. NFC allows smartphones and other mobile devices to communication wirelessly with
each other if they are close together. This enables mobile payments, data transfers and network setups.
Mobile handsets are the main targeted devices for this technology. Services built on top of NFC enabled
mobile handsets enable users to share and receive information instantly, interact with other NFC enabled
devices, and even make fast and secure mobile payments.
The use of NFC for mobile payments often gets the most attention among NFC proponents, driven by the
size of the markets and the players involved. Other applications, especially data transfers, are also gaining
The technology is built on existing RFID standards. NFC devices operating at 13.56 MHz can transfer data
at up to 424 Kbits/second. Communication between two NFC enabled handsets is started and completed
with a simple proximity wave or touch of the two devices to each other. The communication can also imply
passive parts in the form of an NFC tag. These tags gain power for the communication from the RF fields
emitted by an active NFC device.
NFC operates at 13.56 MHz on ISO/IEC 18000-3 air interface and at rates ranging from 106 Kbit/s to 424
Kbit/s over a distance of 10 cm or less. NFC peer-to-peer communication is possible, provided both devices
are powered - this mode is used for transferring data between smartphones (known as “beaming”).
The real power of NFC relies in combining with contactless smart card infrastructure. The mobile handset
user can make transactions just by touching his/her phone to a NFC credit card reader or ticket gate. User
information, such as credit card payment data or a user’s travel ticket – and potentially a user’s access
control card – are securely stored in the integrated smart card chip inside the user’s phone.
The security issues for using NFC for airport access control, however, raise this bar and are not trivial.
While the communication range is limited to a few centimeters, NFC alone does not ensure secure
communications. NFC’s resistance to man-in-the-middle attacks is not part of the ISO standard, NFC offers
no protection against eavesdropping, and NFC can be vulnerable to data modifications. Losing the NFC
RFID card or the mobile phone will open access to any finder and act as a single-factor authenticating
entity. Mobile phones protected by a PIN code act as a single authenticating factor only; security
applications will require higher-layer cryptographic protocols (e.g., SSL) to establish a secure channel and
two-factor authentication is likely to be required.
Still, the potential for using a smartphone enabled for access control will be appeal to many parties as the
technology, and especially security measures, continue improve.
Radio over IP (RoIP)
RoIP is an IP-based voice communications protocol. For airports, RoIP provides the means of integrating
in the SOC voice communications across different radio platforms, including land mobile radios and 800
MHz trunked radios used by Police Dispatch and a multitude of local, State, and Federal agencies.
When unlike stations using various proprietary protocols (UHF, VHF, various trunked protocols) are
properly interfaced to a RoIP controller, transmission/ reception audio is routed over the computer network
as RoIP data packets. When the base station receiver audio data packets are received at the remote PC they
are converted into analog audio. The reverse is true when the remote PC user causes the base station to
transmit. The TX audio data packets for the base station are transported over the network and reconverted
to analog at the base station and applied to the analog input of the transceiver
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