News Column

Patent Issued for NFC Communicator and Method of Data Communication

March 5, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventor Huomo, Heikki (Meysey Hampton, GB), filed on December 7, 2007, was published online on February 18, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8655273, is Broadcom Innovision Limited (Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, GB).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Near field RF (radio frequency) communication requires an antenna of one near field RF communicator to be present within the alternating magnetic field (H field) generated by the antenna of another near field RF communicator by transmission of an RF signal (for example a 13.56 Mega Hertz signal) to enable the magnetic field (the H field) of the RF signal to be inductively coupled between the communicators. The RF signal may be modulated to enable communication of control and/or other data.

"Near field communication in the context of this application may be referred to as near-field RF communication, near field RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or near field communication. The range of such devices depends on the antenna used but may be, for example, up to 1 meter. A near field RF communicator may be, as examples: an initiator near field RF communicator (such as a near field RFID transceiver or RFID reader) that is capable of initiating a near field RF communication (through transmission or generation of an alternating magnetic field) with another near field RF communicator; a target near field RF communicator (such as an RF transponder or tag) that is capable of responding to initiation of a near field RF communication by another near field RF communicator; or an NFC communicator that is capable of being both an initiator and target and that in an initiator mode is capable of initiating a near field RF communication (through transmission or generation of an alternating magnetic field) with another near field RF communicator and in a target mode is capable of responding to initiation of a near field RF communication by another near field RF communicator.

"Communication of data between NFC communicators may be via an active communication mode in which the NFC communicator transmits or generates an alternating magnetic field modulated with the data to be communicated and the receiving NFC communicator responds by transmitting or generating its own modulated magnetic field, or via a passive communication mode in which one NFC communicator transmits or generates an alternating magnetic field and maintains that field and the responding NFC communicator modulates the magnetic field to which it is inductively coupled with the data to be communicated, for example by modulating the load on the inductive coupling ('load modulation'). Near field RF communicators may be actively powered, that is have an internal or associated power source, or passively powered, that is derive a power supply from a received magnetic field. Generally an RF transceiver will be active powered while an RF transponder may be passively or actively powered.

"There are several standards in existence which set out certain communication protocols and functional requirements for near field communication. For example ISO/IEC 14443 sets out certain criteria for proximity card and reader/writer systems, ISO 15693 sets out certain criteria for vicinity card and reader/writer systems. Examples of NFC communicators include those described in standards ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 21481. NFC communicators may also be referred to as CLFs within standards.

"All of these standards require communication to be in accordance with certain timing protocols. For example under the NFC standards ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 21481, a responding NFC communicator must supply data in answer to a request within 87 micro seconds (plus or minus 6.5 micro seconds). An NFC communicator may reside within a variety of end systems and host devices, for example mobile telephones, lap-tops, PDAs. The NFC communicators in such end systems and host devices may be used to transfer data from a variety of sources within those end systems and host devices."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In one aspect, the present invention provides an NFC communicator that enables communication between the NFC communicator and a data source external to the NFC communicator without affecting the ability of the NFC communicator to respond in accordance with the timing protocols under which the NFC communicator is required to operate.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides an NFC device comprising such a communicator, that achieves compliance with existing timing standards whilst being cost effective and flexible to implement.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides a data source (for example a secure element or host system) that achieves compatibility with essential standards requirements and protocols whilst being cost effective and flexible to implement.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides an NFC communicator comprising:

"a coupler operable to couple with a coupler of a near field RF communicator in near field range to enable communication of data between the communicators by modulation of a magnetic field;

"a demodulator to extract modulation from a modulated signal coupled to the coupler; and

"a modulator to modulate an RF signal in accordance with data to be communicated by the NFC communicator, the NFC communicator being operable to communicate with a data source and to at least one of provide timing data to the data source and receive timing data from the data source.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides a data source operable to couple to an NFC communicator wherein the data source comprises a data store and a controller to provide timing information to the NFC communicator based on the time taken by the data source to respond to a request from the NFC communicator for data from the data store.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides a data source operable to couple to an NFC communicator wherein the data source comprises a data store and a controller and the controller is operable to receive timing data from the NFC communicator and to calculate a time required for response to a request from the NFC communicator in accordance with the received timing data.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides an NFC communications enabled device, the device comprising:

"an NFC communicator having a coupler operable to couple with a coupler of a near field RF communicator in near field range to enable communication of data between the communicators by modulation of a magnetic field, a demodulator to extract modulation from a modulated signal coupled to the coupler and a modulator to modulate an RF signal in accordance with data to be communicated by the NFC communicator; and at least one data source coupled to the NFC communicator, at least one of the at least one data source and the NFC communicator being operable to transfer timing data to the other of the NFC communicator and the at least one data source.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides a method of near field communication which comprises communicating communication timing data between an NFC communicator and at least one data source.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides a method of near field communication which comprises communicating between an NFC communicator and at least one data source data to enable the NFC communicator to determine whether or not data from the data source can be retrieved and supplied to a requesting near field RF communicator within a required period.

"In one aspect, the present invention provides a method of near field communication which comprises communicating between an NFC communicator and at least one data source data to enable the data source to determine a time period in which it should respond to a request for data from the NFC communicator to enable NFC communicator to supply the data to a requesting near field RF communicator within a required period.

"The data source may be a secure element.

"In an embodiment of the present invention there is provided an NFC communicator operable to transfer data from its memory or data store to a data source (for example a secure element) wherein such data comprises data as to the time taken to receive and process incoming NFC data and the time taken to process and transmit outgoing NFC data and where incoming NFC data and outgoing NFC data refers to data communicated with an external RFID communicator.

"In an embodiment, the NFC communicator: Is operable to communicate with another near field RF communicator through modulation of a proximal H field; Is operable both to initiate communication using the H field and to respond to initiation of communication using the H field by an initiator near field RF communicator such as an external RFID communicator. Is controlled in accordance with instructions received from a controller (for example a microprocessor, microcontroller or reduced instruction set computer), where that controller may be integral to the NFC communicator or comprised within a larger host device or system; has a modulator to modulate a proximal H field generated by, for example, an initiator near field RF communicator to provide outgoing NFC data to another near field RF communicator; has a demodulator to demodulate a modulated RF signal received from another near field communicator to extract NFC data.

"The extracted NFC data may comprise, for example, instructions and identification data from the other near field RF communicator in accordance with the appropriate applicable standards, for example ISO 18092 or ISO 21481. The outgoing NFC data may comprise, for example, data from a data source such as a secure element or other data source within the NFC communications enabled device or data from a memory or data store within the NFC communicator itself.

"In an embodiment, the timing data comprises an indication relating to a time period for response to a request from a near field RF communicator requiring data from the data source. The indication may be estimate of the time period.

"The NFC communicator may form part of a larger device or host. In such a case, the NFC communicator may be removable from or fixed within the larger device or host. The larger device or host may be, for example, a mobile phone, PDA, lap-top or other electrical device. As another possibility, the NFC communicator may be removable from or fixed within a secure element or other data source.

"In an embodiment, the present invention provides a data source such as a secure element, for example a SIM card, USIM card, WIM card, SWIM card, SD card, SMC card, UICC or other form of data source, which data source is operable to receive data from an NFC communicator and to determine on the basis of such received data the time frame within which the secure element must respond to the NFC communicator. The data from the NFC communicator may contain data as to the time taken to process incoming NFC data and the time taken to process outgoing NFC data by the NFC communicator. The data may also contain, for example, identification data, instructions (for example a request for data held within the data source), application data.

"The data source may form part of a larger device or host and may be removable from or fixed within the larger device or host. The larger device or host may be, for example, a mobile phone, PDA, lap-top or other electrical device.

"In an embodiment the present invention provides an NFC communication system which comprises an NFC communicator and a data source which is operable to enable transfer of data from a memory store of the data source directly or indirectly to another near field RF communicator such as an external RFID communicator via the NFC communicator by inductively coupling using the H field and wherein such system: Is operable to transfer timing data between the NFC communicator and the data source; Is operable to control the timing of data transfer from the memory store of the data source to the NFC communicator in accordance with the timing data transferred between the NFC communicator and the data source; Is operable to communicate with another near field RF communicator through modulation of a proximal H field; Is operable both to initiate communication using the H field and to respond to initiation of communication using the H field by another near field RF communicator; Is controlled in accordance with instructions received from a controller (for example a microprocessor, microcontroller or reduced instruction set computer) where that controller may be integral to the NFC device or provided within a larger host device or system; has a modulator to modulate a proximal H field generated by the external RFID communicator; has a demodulator to demodulate a modulated RF signal received from another near field RF communicator; and wherein, as a result of communication with another near field RF communicator, data from the data source is transmitted to that other near field RF communicator.

"In an embodiment the present invention provides an NFC communicator operable to process data received from another near field RF communicator within a set period of time and to receive data from a data source (for example a secure element) which comprises information on the time for processing and transferring data by the data source.

"In an embodiment the present invention provides a data source, for example a secure element, which is operable to calculate the maximum response time from receipt of data by an NFC communicator from another near field RF communicator and to communicate such maximum response time to the NFC communicator.

"In an embodiment an NFC communications enabled device is provided comprising a system as described above, or an NFC communicator or data source as described above."

For more information, see this patent: Huomo, Heikki. NFC Communicator and Method of Data Communication. U.S. Patent Number 8655273, filed December 7, 2007, and published online on February 18, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=35&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1747&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140218.PD.&OS=ISD/20140218&RS=ISD/20140218

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Microcontroller, Microprocessors, Broadcom Innovision Limited.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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