Vicinity integrated circuits cards (ISO/IEC 15693)
The ISO/IEC 15 693 standard, whose exact title is ‘Identification cards – Contactless integrated circuit(s) cards – Vicinity cards’, describes the properties and operating modes of contactless smart cards having a range up to 1 m. This type of card is preferred for applications such as access control, since a range of around 1 m means that it is not necessary for the card to be held in the user’s hand. Instead, it can remain in the user’s pocket, purse or other location. Up to now, this standard has not found widespread use in smart card systems, so we omit providing an extensive description of it here.

Test methods for contactless smart cards
The ISO/IEC 10 373 standard contains a compilation of all test methods for ID cards with and without chips. ISO/IEC 10 373 consists of seven parts, as shown below. As can be seen from this following list, three parts of this standard contain special test methods for contactless
–Part 1: General characteristics tests
–Part 2: Cards with magnetic stripes
–Part 3: Integrated circuit(s) cards with contacts and related devices
–Part 4: Close-coupled cards
–Part 5: Optical memory cards
–Part 6: Proximity cards
–Part 7: Vicinity cards.

Part 4: Test methods for close-coupling smart cards
This part of the standard describes methods for testing the physical interfaces of contactless close-coupling smart cards compliant with ISO/IEC 10 536. Test aids in the form of reference coils and capacitive coupling surfaces are defined for use in measuring energy and data transfers between the terminal and the smart card and verifying conformance with the values specified in the standard (ISO/IEC 10 536).

Test methods for proximity-coupling smart cards
Part 6 of the standard describes methods for testing the physical interfaces of contactless proximity-coupling smart cards compliant with ISO/IEC 14 433. The test aids necessary for this purpose, which consist of a calibration coil, a test setup for measuring load modulation and a reference card, are defined in the standard. Test methods for the following properties of the card or terminal are described in the standard:
–the resistance of the card to damage by electrostatic discharge
–the amplitude of the load modulation and the functionality of the card within its defined modulation region, as described in the basic standard
–the strength of the field generated by the terminal
–the modulation index and transient behavior (rise and fall times, overshoots etc.) of the signal generated by the terminal.

It must be noted that the small amplitude of the load modulation signal means it is difficult to make accurate and reproducible measurements of this signal, and it is to be hoped that suitable measurement equipment will soon be commercially available. Until such time, it is advisable to request assistance from suppliers of cards and/or terminals and agree on terms and conditions of delivery at an early date.

Part 7: Test methods for vicinity-coupling smart cards
Part 7 of the standard describes methods for testing the physical interfaces of vicinity-coupling smart cards compliant with ISO/IEC 15 693. The test aids and methods largely correspond to those in Part 6 of the standard. The only difference is in the construction of the reference card, due to the different subcarrier frequency.