Safe And Smart Device Connectivity with NFC Microcontrollers

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The growth of smartdevices connected to Internet has led to serious concerns regarding safety of consumer and business data. Addressing the following need, Broadcom has announced industry’s first family of secure micro-controllers with embedded near field communication (NFC), according to the media release. NFC is a radio standard which works with small data volumes over limited ranges allowing them to be transported to a distance of typically 10cm or less. Contactless communication allows a user to wave the smartphone over a NFC compatible device to send information without needing to touch the devices together or go through multiple steps setting-up a connection.

The technology behind NFC allows a device, known as a reader, interrogator or active device, to create a radio frequency current that communicates with another NFC compatible device or a small NFC tag holding the information the reader wants. Passive devices, such as the NFC tag in smart posters, store information, communicate with the reader but do not actively read other devices. Peer-to-peer communication through two active devices is also a possibility with NFC. This allows both devices to send and receive information.

NFC Tag

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In reference to the Broadcom press release, “BCM58100 is a MCU that integrate NFC for tap-to-access, tap-to-pair and tap-to-pay applications in a growing number of products. It allows devices like PCs, home automation products and mPOS terminals to support payment, access and control applications via smartphones in a secure environment. The BCM58100 offers the highest level of security to protect sensitive consumer data from threats at the physical and network layer while simplifying system design, reducing footprint and lowering cost for OEMs.” Emphasising on the platform the release states, “BroadSAFE architecture offers tamper protection and encryption as well as secure storage and processing of both card information and biometric user data such as fingerprint, iris, facial templates and more to safeguard against attacks.”

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A few key features of Broadcom BCM58100 MCU are as follows:

  • BroadSAFE security architecture including tamper protection, encryption, multi-factor authentication and secure storage and processing for both card information and biometric user data
  • NFC compliant reader
  • Integrated EMV smartcard and magstripe (MSR) readers
  • Low-power ARM Cortex M3 processor with up to 250MHz and advanced power management for longer battery life
  • 512KB static random access memory (SRAM) to eliminate the need for external RAM
  • Tightly coupled software environment with Broadcom’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) products
  • Integrated audio jack I/F support
  • System I/O integration including USB H/D, SMBus, UARTs and SPIs
  • 10x10mm footprint compatible package for small form factor designs

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