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Experience Seamless Connectivity with NFC Headphones

If you’ve looked in to a portable, convenient headset in the last few years then diving into the rabbit hole of Bluetooth Versions, aptX Codecs, EDR and all those wireless connectivity methods would have been inevitable.

One term you may have seen in your travels through wireless audio is “NFC”. This technology is a refinement of wireless connectivity that does far more than pair your phone to your headset, and is actually a staple of everyday life without many of us knowing.

Wireless technology is able to carry audio with impressive quality at incredible speed, but Bluetooth pairing has always been a matter of scanning, holding devices close for sometimes up to 20 seconds, and finally pairing. If your devices were both in pairing mode and neither had a screen then connecting two Bluetooth devices could be a chore, often interrupted but a stray connection or device nearby.

What is NFC, how does it instantly connect headphones and why is it better than Bluetooth? Read on to dispel the jargon!

 

What is NFC?

NFC Stands for Near-Field-Communication. That sounds a little advanced, but it’s all in the name. Rather than a scan of up to 10 meters like Bluetooth, or a huge 100m range like Wi-Fi, NFC really hones in on the “near” part of its name. In fact, the highest range for the most common NFC tag is 4 centimetres.

Near Field Communication allows you to wirelessly link two devices that are in very close contact. The connection is fast, momentary, and secure because of this. If this sounds like using contactless credit cards, that’s because the tech is very similar!

The most common usage day-to-day are NFC payments with your NFC Smartphone. Most modern phones have NFC pairing that allows you to use your mobile device like a contactless bank card, tapping on a pay machine with your phone and letting NFC do the rest!

But don’t worry, an NFC Headset won’t charge you every time you connect your phone to it! It’s just an alternative use of the same communication technology.

 

 

 

How Does NFC Work?

There are two main ways in which NFC actually achieves its Near Field Communication. As the name implies, a field needs to be used. In this case, an electromagnetic field. In a similar way an electromagnetic radio wave can jumpstart an emergency radio remotely, an electromagnetic field is used to turn on the NFC within 4cm and start a communication.

Essentially there is an NFC device in your phone, and an NFC device in the payment machine or NFC Headphones. Once two NFC compatible devices are close enough, the electromagnetic field around them provides them the electricity they need to communicate.

What is NFC Pairing?

NFC Pairing manifests in two ways:

1) The NFC device is unpowered and will communicate to whatever NFC receiver powers it next

or

2) Both NFC devices are powered themselves, and the power supply is disabled when a communication ends

The technical nitty-gritty is all in the White Paper for NFC transmissions, but it’s enough to simply understand that NFC devices need a burst of electricity, and communicate in this brief window of mutual power. On smartphones, you may need to manually turn on the “NFC and Contactless Payments” option to allow the system to power up.

NFC Headphones Meaning

So far, we have learnt that NFC Stands for near-field communication and connects two devices within a mutually-powered electromagnetic field. But what’s that got to do with headphones?

NFC Headphones are portable audio devices as you’d expect. 2 Driver units, a comfortable spine, and either wired or wireless connection.

In the case of NFC Headphones, this connectivity is the part that is specialised. Unlike normal Bluetooth headphones that will need to be;

- Prompted into a pairing mode

- Found on your phone / PC Bluetooth menu

- Finally selected

NFC uses the automatic electromagnetic field to perform all those steps in one touch.

Once your NFC-enabled phone gets in range of the NFC tag of the headphones, the two devices power the NFC systems and communicate, with no risk of accidental pairing. The same technology that momentarily links your phone to a pay machine, links your phone to the headphones.

In that short nano-second that the connection switches on, all the information of the Bluetooth connection is provided and then immediately used to pair the two devices.

Basically, NFC lets you skip the scanning and pairing parts of Bluetooth and get straight to being connected for wireless play. The wireless headphones use Bluetooth just the same as non-NFC headphones dependent on the Bluetooth Version. NFC in headphones isonly a connectivity method and does not carry the audio itself.

What are NFC Headphones For?

Once you have your head around how the technology works it’s easy to understand how this connectivity can enrich and streamline day-to-day life. Not having to re-pair and scan every time you go out of range, power-off a device or even switch devices entirely gives you less time sifting through menus and more time enjoying your audio.

From instantly connecting to an office headset for a meeting, picking up an audiobook where you left it on your commute or getting home and reconnecting to your gaming rig, NFC technology makes your audio accessible and instant.

Is NFC Better than Bluetooth?

As we have seen, NFC connections are tiny and close-range. The data sent is vital to establishing a larger, faster connection like Bluetooth. The two connection methods do not aim to achieve the same goals, and in fact NFC technology is a way to jump-start a Bluetooth connection as we have seen with NFC-Enabled Headphones. An NFC Headset will use Bluetooth for the actual audio reception, while the NFC tag is used just to skip the set-up and instantly pair your devices.

Explore NFC Headphones

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