What is MiFare?

What is MiFare?

MiFare is a popular contactless technology for access control and attendance solutions. MiFare enables only those with a MiFare card to access specific areas or buildings using their allocated card. 

All MiFare cards comply with the industry-standard requirements and, like other contactless cards, use an internal antenna and chip that reacts once a card is within the magnetic field of a reader. MiFare operate at a 13.56MHz frequency and are made by NXP Semiconductors.

MiFare is known as a "Smart Card". Smart Cards differ to "Proximity Cards" in that they are also able to store data. A standard proximity card generally stores only a facility code and card number, which are read by a controller. This controller then determines whether the card should be allowed access and provides access accordingly.

MiFare cards can hold account details and balances, event details and audit trails, among many other types of data.

What types of MiFare are there?

MiFare cards are able to store varying amounts of data, from only a few bytes up to 28 kilobytes.

  • MiFare Classic: This is the original and most widely used type of MiFare card. It has a capacity of up to 1 kilobyte of memory and is often used for applications such as public transportation and access control.

  • MiFare Ultralight: This type of card is similar to the MiFare Classic, but has a smaller capacity of only 64 bytes of memory. It is often used for applications where a simple, low-cost solution is needed.

  • MiFare Plus: This type of card is an upgrade to the MiFare Classic, with increased security and a higher capacity of up to 4 kilobytes of memory. It is often used for more secure applications such as financial transactions and e-government services.

  • MiFare DESFire: This is the most advanced type of MiFare card, with a capacity of up to 28 kilobytes of memory and enhanced security features. It is often used for applications that require the highest level of security, such as military and government identification.

What can MiFare products be used for?

  • Access Control Systems: A great example is Salto, which heavily utilises the data on card capability of MiFare. Updated data is written to the card when presented to a reader. This data is downloaded to subsequent doors as the card moves to other readers. This allows for fast, wireless proliferation of access changes.
    • Salto also has options for downloading the audit trail from a door when it is badged with a card. This data stays on the card until it is badged on a special reader called a "Hotspot", where the data is extracted and sent to the access control program to be reviewed.
  • Public transportation: MiFare cards are commonly used as the payment method for public transportation systems such as buses and trains.
  • Access control: MiFare cards can be used to control access to buildings, offices, and other restricted areas.
  • Event ticketing: MiFare cards can be used as electronic tickets for events such as concerts and sporting events.
Overall, the MiFare system is a widely used and reliable technology that has many practical applications in various industries. Its versatility, security, and convenience make it an attractive choice for many businesses and organizations.

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