Mifare Card Reader

The first steps towards a cashless society are already underway in many places around the world. The introduction of contactless smart cards has resulted in a shift away from traditional paper tickets and magnetic strip cards. Public transport systems are the main users of this new technology but it’s also used by many other businesses. Mifare is the most widely installed smart card system, with over one billion cards and seven million card readers in use today. Over fifty manufacturers produce a Mifare card reader and there are many different shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from.

Mifare is not a company but a trademark owned by the European NXT Semiconductors company. The giant Phillips corporation formed NXT Semiconductors in 2006 but Mifare has been around for much longer, with the first cards appearing in 1994. Today, it is used for over forty different applications in over 650 cities around the world. The company makes the computer chips used in every Mifare card reader, but the readers themselves are made by other companies. The technology is based on a contactless card standard which ensures that every card works with every reader that supports the standard.

Mifare is primarily used by public transport systems for ticketing purposes. Contactless cards have many advantages over traditional paper tickets and magnetic strip tickets. Mifare tickets are easier for customers to use because they only have to be moved in front of a reader rather than swiped through a slot. This reduces wear and tear on the tickets and the readers, and also reduces maintenance costs and delays caused by vandalism. Mifare cards are also used for making small payments at schools, universities, supermarkets, retail stores, car parking stations, and internet cafes. Employers use the cards to monitor employee work hours and also to control who enters certain rooms and buildings.

A Mifare card is essentially a data storage device, like a memory card. There is a tiny chip embedded inside it that holds all the data, such as the identification number and available credit. One of card’s main advantages is that it does not pass through a slot. Users can quickly move their card in front of a Mifare card reader without having to pause to find a slot. The speed of data transfer is so fast that it takes place almost instantly, so users do not even have to pause while holding their card in front of a reader. Seven different types of Mifare chip are available, including the classic 1K chip that was introduced in 1994 and which is still used today.

A Mifare card reader is a small device that can read data from a card but also write data to it. Before any data transfer can occur, the card has to be placed within range of the reader. The typical range of a Mifare card reader is three inches or less, so it needs to be located where users can get close to it. Each reader has a small antenna inside it that sends out a continuous signal looking for cards to interact with. When a Mifare card encounters this signal, it uses the small amount of electricity produced by it to send back another signal which is picked up by the reader. In this way, a Mifare card can operate without a battery or solar cell.

Practically every Mifare card reader has the same list of internal features because they must conform to a standard. They operate on a frequency of 13.56MHz and have the same range of three inches, and they use a low voltage power supply. The only decisions that most buyers need to make when choosing one is what shape, size, and color to get. This may not matter if the readers are to be used in a drag industrial building but it’s important for other types of buildings, such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. Thankfully, there is a wide variety of readers to choose from, so finding the right one should not be a problem.

This Mifare Card Reader Review is Written/Updated on Oct 16th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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