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Bluetooth and NFC solution to secure, convenient device pairing suits wearables and IoT

Bluetooth and NFC solution to secure, convenient device pairing suits wearables and IoT

The pairing of different items of electronic hardware, so that information or content can be shared, is becoming increasing important. There are two fundamental requirements for pairing that need to be observed if this operation is to be fully effective.

Firstly, pairing must be simple for the user to manage. Secondly, pairing must factor in a high degree of security to mitigate the risk of data being obtained by unauthorised parties.

Until now, passkey mechanisms have been the most common way to initiate secure pairing. However, this approach is not overly convenient for users. Furthermore, it is not suited to all forms of hardware, as it relies on access to a Human Machine Interface (HMI), such as a touch-enabled display or keys. Wearable electronics, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and home/building automation equipment, for example, do not necessarily have an HMI. Out of Band (OoB) pairing techniques built on a combination of Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) and Near Field Communication (NFC) offer a simplified and secured solution to pairing in these types of applications.

BLE has established itself as a wireless connectivity option that is very well aligned with the low-power data characteristics which define IoT and wearable electronics designs. Residing in the same 2.4GHz frequency band as the original Bluetooth® protocol, this more power efficient version is optimised for the transfer of relatively modest amounts of data on an intermittent rather than constant basis. Though there are data protection features incorporated into BLE, some applications will need a higher degree of sophistication to safeguard against interception during the device pairing process. Via use of NFC technology (which operates at 13.56MHz and has a maximum range that is restricted to less than 10cm), a close proximity OoB pairing mechanism can be offered that significantly enhances the security provided by BLE’s built-in AES-128 encryption.

NFC-based pairing is completely intuitive; it just calls for the items of equipment involved to be brought into contact with one another. The user does not have to worry about entering/checking numeric strings. Once the pairing has been executed, data transfer over BLE can take place in a secure environment, without the risk of important information being acquired by another party.

To learn more about the role of integrated Bluetooth/NFC solutions in secure OoB pairing, please download Toshiba’s whitepaper.

Click here to find out more about secure OoB pairing and technologies that can speed the implementation of integrated Bluetooth/NFC applications

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·Before creating and producing designs and using, customers must also refer to and comply with the latest versions of all relevant TOSHIBA information and the instructions for the application that Product will be used with or for.