Low-level software that is similar to hardware features. This software operates by exchanging commands directly with an external device or with a specific software loaded in the product.
The process whereby a card, terminal or person proves who they are. A fundamental part of many cryptography systems.
Near-field communication. A subset of RFID, where the operating distance is much shorter than the wavelength of the radio waves involved. This is the case for both ISO 14443 and ISO 15693: the carrier frequency is 13.56MHz, leading to a wavelength of 22m. The proximity and vicinity ranges are shorter than this wavelength.
Radio-frequency identification. This is the general name for any system using radio waves for M2M communication (machine to machine, in our case PCD/VCD to PICC/VICC).
reader (Microprocessor-based card)
An ICC (or a PICC) whose chip is a small computer. This is the case of high-end cards used in payment, transport, eID/passports, access control... Key features are security, ability to store a large amount of data and to run an application inside the chip. Most of the time they implement the command set defined by ISO 7816-4.
Coupling device or coupler. A device able to communicate with an ICC. This is what everybody calls a smartcard reader. Technically speaking it could be seen as a gateway between the computer and the card.