What Is Near-Field Communication (NFC)?

And how can it help you print from a mobile device?

Touch-to-print with near-field communication (NFC)


Near-field communication (NFC) is a protocol found on many mobile devices. It enables two-way communication between smartphones, tablets, laptops, and printers within close proximity to each other. This technology is useful for a variety of purposes. For example, tap two Samsung smartphones together to exchange a song, contact information, or a spreadsheet. NFC can also be used to pay for a store purchase by waving the phone near a device at the checkout counter, or to send documents to a printer to print.

NFC and Printers

With NFC, you can use your printer to print directly from your mobile device without either device being part of a wired or wireless network. Most major printer makers (such as HP, Brother, Canon, and Epson) have implemented NFC on many printers. Most NFC-ready machines have an NFC mark on them for touch-to-print and scanning operations.

Canon has included NFC in some of its recent digital cameras. Photos can be printed directly from the camera to the printer with either a close proximity wave or by holding the camera close to the printer and pressing a button on the camera screen. The action works similarly for smartphones and tablets. 

Canon added NFC to some of its new high-end printers, such as the Pixma MG7520 All-in-One, and also included NFC in its Pixma Printing Solutions app.

Epson deployed NFC in several of its all-in-one printers, such as the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One. Brother included NFC in some of its high-end models, such as the MFC-J5620DW wide-format model.

How NFC Works for Printing

The initiating NFC device (such as a smartphone) sends a request for a connection or a tag. In turn, the receiving device (such as a printer) sends an NFC tag. After the two devices authenticate in this way, they exchange data (such as a smartphone sending a document to the printer for printing). These actions are completed with no drivers required.

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