Introducing the NTAG® 5 family from NXP
Introducing the NTAG® 5 family from NXP
The NFC Forum is a non-profit industry association, created to standardize and promote NFC technology, ensuring interoperability of devices and services. The most recent set of NFC specifications (NFC Forum Type 5 operating specifications) includes the NFC-V radio frequency (RF) technology implementation, based on the ISO/IEC 15693 standard. The NFC-V technology enables more efficient antenna design with extended range and smaller dimensions compared to previous NFC technologies. The NFC Type 5 specifications also introduce some other optimizations and features, which focus on improved communication in the IoT environment.
More information related to the NFC Type 5 specifications is available on the official NFC Forum blog page.
NTAG 5 devices family overview
As one of the co-inventors of the NFC technology, NXP Semiconductors (NXP) is always bringing the most innovative NFC-related solutions to the market, targeting the broadest range of use cases. Recently, NXP introduced the NTAG 5 family, an NFC Forum Type 5-compliant family of NTAG devices, which combine NFC communication with a multi-purpose wired interface.
The NTAG 5 family shares a set of key features among all of its members:
- NFC Forum compliance
- ISO/IEC 15693 standard compliance
- Read Range Duality (powerful Industrial-grade readers up to 60 cm, and NFC-enabled device at close range)
- Configurable three-pin wired interface: PWM, GPIO, Event Detection pin
- Energy harvesting with configurable output voltage up to 30 mW
- Scalable security
- Three configurable user memory areas
- ECC-based reprogrammable originality signature
- Low power consumption: less than 6 μA standby, less than 0.25 μA hard power-down
- Wide operating temperature range: -40 to +85 °C
- Product support (dev boards, app notes, software, hands-on training)
Rich with features and with many improvements over previous NTAG generations, the NTAG 5 family of devices enables some unique and innovative use cases in many different segments, including consumer, industrial, IoT, and healthcare. The NTAG 5 family of devices consists of three subcategories, each bringing one or more unique features on top of the common key features mentioned above:
- NTAG 5 Switch, an NFC Type 5 Forum-compliant PWM and GPIO bridge for lighting and gaming applications
- NTAG 5 Link, an NFC Type 5 Forum-compliant I2C bridge for IoT on demand
- NTAG 5 Boost, an NFC Type 5 Forum-compliant I2C bridge for space-constrained applications
For a quick specs comparison, see the table at the end of this article.
NTAG 5 Switch
NTAG 5 Switch (NTP5210) is an NFC Forum-compliant PWM and GPIO bridge. Focused on the cost-sensitive applications, NFC 5 Switch still includes all the key features of the NTAG 5 family. Equipped with the NFC-controlled three-pin wired interface that supports PWM and GPIO, it provides a cost-effective and flexible MCU replacement across a variety of applications. The configurable three-pin interface can be used as a combination of PWM and GPIO lines to turn ON/OFF and control motor speed or LED lighting brightness via an NFC-enabled smartphone.
The Read Range Duality feature allows using NTAG 5 Switch in the industrial applications, allowing communication with an NFC-enabled device at close range, and with powerful ISO/IEC 15693-enabled industrial reader at a range up to 60 cm. Once parameterized on the production line, a product can be safely operated in the field with any NFC-enabled device, such as a smartphone.
A set of security features such as the pre-provisioned, reprogrammable ECC-based originality signature, and a set of three configurable memory areas with programmable access and 32/64-bit password protection, extend the use of the NTAG 5 Switch to applications with increased security requirements, such as IoT or industrial applications.
Another key feature of the device is the advanced energy harvesting functionality. By using this feature, NTAG 5 Switch can harvest energy from the RF field itself and convert it to a regulated voltage output that can be used to charge up a supercapacitor or power up small device, such as an external memory chip, LED, sensor, or even an entire sensor node. This eliminates the need for an additional power supply (e.g., a battery), reducing the overall costs even further.
As part of their product support, NXP offers the OM2NTA5KIT, a three-board Demo Kit that includes demo boards for all three NTAG 5 subcategories (NTAG 5 Switch, NTAG 5 Link, and NTAG 5 Boost), allowing for quick and easy evaluation of the main features. The demo board can be used in combination with either NFC Cube or an NFC-enabled smartphone with a free app installed. Both IOS and Android™ devices are supported.
You can find additional resources and more information on NTAG 5 Switch on the NXP's official NTAG 5 Switch landing page.
NTAG 5 Link
NTAG 5 Link (NTP5312, NTP5332) is an NFC Forum-compliant PWM, GPIO, and I2C Bridge, optimized for sensor-driven applications. In addition to all the features found in the previously described NTAG 5 Switch, NTAG 5 Link brings the I2C functionality to its multi-purpose three-pin interface, as well as the additional 256 bytes of SRAM, larger EEPROM size, and a set of more sophisticated security features (including 128-bit AES mutual authentication for NTP5532).
The I2C pass-through functionality significantly extends the usability of NTAG 5 Link. Embedded SRAM allows for frequent memory operations during authentication in an IoT environment, enabling compliance with the standardized NFC Forum data exchange mechanisms. This feature makes NTAG 5 Link a perfect solution for IoT on demand: it can power up an IoT node, perform zero-power read-out, and send data to the cloud, all with a single tap. A sensor node or an IoT endpoint can remain sealed in its enclosure since the RF field can penetrate through many different materials. In the case of the NTP5332, there is a Transparent I2C Master Channel feature available, allowing the NTAG 5 Link to replace both the battery and the MCU, which is perfect for single-shot, ad-hoc sensor readouts, where power is an issue.
Besides the NTAG 5 Link demo board, which is also included in the OM2NTA5KIT Demo Kit, NXP also offers the OM2NTP5332, a full-fledged development board, equipped with Arduino® UNO pinout-compatible headers. This development board enables rapid development and prototyping of a wide range of NFC applications in the consumer, industrial, and medical segments.
More information and additional resources related to the NFC 5 Link devices are available on the NXP's official NTAG 5 Link landing page.
NTAG 5 Boost
NTAG 5 Boost (NTA5332) is an NFC Forum-compliant PWM, GPIO, and I2C Bridge, which introduces the Active Load Modulation (ALM) scheme for the RF front-end. By utilizing an external power supply, the ALM scheme allows for a much smaller antenna footprint than the other devices from the NTAG 5 family. It allows antenna size reduction without compromising (or even boosting) the communication range. Thanks to the ALM feature, NTAG 5 Boost provides seamless NFC connectivity even for tiny devices and space-constrained applications, which otherwise would not be able to support larger passive NFC antennas.
Besides the ALM, NTAG 5 Boost offers the same features found in NTAG 5 Link devices, including I2C bridging functionality (both as a Master and as a Slave), energy harvesting functionality (while working in the passive antenna mode), 128-bit AES mutual authentication, and the same memory configuration.
Power is almost always an issue in tiny applications. With the hard power-down current of only 25 µA, NTAG 5 Boost can cope even with the stingiest power requirements of such applications.
The NTAG 5 Boost demo board is also available for quick evaluation within the OM2NTA5KIT Demo Kit, while the OM2NTA5332 Development Board equipped with Arduino® UNO pinout-compatible headers enables rapid development and prototyping of IoT applications that can benefit from having a small antenna footprint.
For additional resources and information related to NTAG 5 Boost, please visit the NXP's official NTAG 5 Boost landing page.
The NTAG 5 family from NXP extends the use of the traditional NFC solutions beyond applications in which they have become a de-facto standard. With the introduction of several new innovative features, such as the Read Range Duality, scalable security with reprogrammable ECC-based originality signature, highly interoperable standardized data exchange mechanism for IoT, configurable multifunctional wired interface, and much more, the NTAG 5 family is entering the realms of industrial IoT and healthcare, bringing along the famous use simplicity that made it so popular in the consumer market. If you're looking for ways to refresh your design with a simple tap-n-go style interface while cutting down costs at the same time, the NFC 5 family from NXP might just be the right solution.