Introduction to ISO 14443

ISO 14443 is a collection of rules regulating the contactless smart cards and readers working at 13.56 Mhz. The main idea is to create a interoperability between contactless smart cards and contactless card readers.

There are 4 parts of ISO 14443:

Part 1 – Physical characteristics

With the introduction of contactless chips in different forms like watch, stickers, keyrings, etc, this part has been obsolote in the last years. Originally it was defining the dimension of the contactless cards based on ISO 7810. In general, card and the reader are referred as PICC and PCD. PICC stands for Proximity Integrated Circuit Card and PCD stands for Proximity Coupling Device.

Part 2 – RF interface

Part 2 defines the characteristics of the power transferred to card for enabling the contactless transactions. Power is transferred by the reader to card using a frequency modulation of 13.56 Mhz. (+/- 7 Khz is accepted)

There are 2 famous types of communication signal interfaces; Type A and Type B. Although many people think that type is equal to Mifare and type is Calypso, it’s simple not true.

Part 3 – Initialization and anti-collision

In the contact card world, only one card is possible in the reader slot, but in the contactless world, this is not always the case. Part 3 deals with selecting a card in the RF field. Anti-collision is basicly selecting one card at a time and holding the other cards in the field idle for the next transaction.

Part 4 – Transmission protocols

Part 4 defines the high level data transmission protocol between the card and the reader.

ISO 14443 does not define any operating system of a card or reader or any application running on each end.

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