NFC Read/ Write Functionality Plan

Is NFC read/write functionality planned for the next revision of the LTE-M beacon?

Thanks!

So actually I’ve just found out the LTE Beacon has a u.fl connector for an external NFC antenna, so if you get one, you can have NFC working right away (:

(It’s the connector next to the SIM card.)

Here’s an NFC API as it was in 0.0.15, but I believe nothing has changed since then:
https://developer.estimote.com/lte-beacon/micro-app-api-reference/v0.0.15/#nfc

I’ll be playing with it later today or this week, time permitting (already found an external NFC antenna in our stash of gadgets), so we can compare notes (;

That is great news! Is this u.fl connector found on the currently shipping version of the LTE Beacon, and planned to be present on the next version of the product? Is it too late in the development cycle for the next version of the product to request that the NFC antenna become a built-in feature? Also, do you have a recommended NFC antenna part number? ( I am searching DigiKey and etc. for one now)

Is this u.fl connector found on the currently shipping version of the LTE Beacon, and planned to be present on the next version of the product?

Right now, yes, the u.fl connector is still present on the next revision that we’re working on. But the general disclaimer when it comes to talking about the future: things can still change.

Is it too late in the development cycle for the next version of the product to request that the NFC antenna become a built-in feature?

I believe the whole idea about using an external antenna is because it turned out to be pretty hard to cram a Bluetooth, GPS, cellular, and NFC antennas all on a single board (if you’re not Apple or Samsung, and don’t have their hardware-engineering resources), so something had to go. So right now, I wouldn’t expect an on-board NFC antenna … but again, disclaimer: things can always change.

(We’re especially interested to hear how/what for you’d want to use NFC. Right now, there seems to be very little interest and real-world applications for NFC in the LTE Beacon, which is why we prioritized things the way we did. But that can always change with enough feedback from the community and customers.)

Also, do you have a recommended NFC antenna part number? ( I am searching DigiKey and etc. for one now)

I went to RFID Antennas on DigiKey, filtered by 13.56MHz frequency, sorted by price, and this is the cheapest one with u.fl connector I found that you can buy just 1 of:

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/taoglas-limited/FXR.01.07.0100C.A/931-1242-ND/4250289

Looks very similar to the one I have.

Thanks for the answers and the part number - I am developing a use case with a customer that uses the NFC functionality, however as usual there is the “chicken and egg” problem where the customer needs to witness the NFC functionality working before the project concept can move forward. The good news is it appears with this external antenna, I should be able to accomplish this demonstration.

1 Like

Please note that LTE beacon can only be read as a NFC tag. It is not possible to read other NFC tags using it.
Other thing is that beacon might need some adjustments in NFC RF circuit to match new antenna.

Thanks for the clarification - the LTE Beacon being read as an NFC tag is the major part of the use case we’re developing, however it would be much more useful is the LTE Beacon were able to read other NFC tags as well - is reading other NFC tags technically possible with a firmware update in the future? Or possibly in a new revision of the hardware?

Enabling reading NFC tags by firmware update is not technically possible. It requires major hardware redesign.