The files Elliaden

NXP Mifare® DESFire® EV3

Questions raised by the arrival of the EV3

The Badge Journal





What's new and what consequences for EV2?


NXP Semiconductors, manufacturer of Mifare DESFire technology and the world's tenth largest semiconductor company, is launching the new version of its Mifare DESFire EV3 contactless chip. The first cards, tags and key fobs are gradually arriving at Elliaden. This file answers the main questions you might have:

- What are the new features of the Mifare DESFire EV3 chip?

- What is the compatibility with your access control systems and what are the consequences for the EV2?

- What will be the price of Mifare DESFire EV3 cards given the explosion of semiconductor prices in the last two years?


What's new with Mifare DESFire EV3?

A little technique (but not too much!):

NXP has announced a number of developments with its new chip, particularly in terms of performance, with a data retention time of 25 years (compared to 10 years with the EV2) and much higher transaction speeds.

In terms of security, there is a new "Transaction Timer" that significantly reduces the risk of "Man in the Middle" attacks (if someone tries to copy your badge by standing between the badge and the reader when it is read). The Mifare DESFire EV3 chip also features a new "NFC single messaging system" that provides a more secure way to maintain data privacy, especially on mobile devices.

Regarding the backward compatibility of the EV3 with the EV1 and EV2 versions, NXP has added "pre-loaded DMA keys" that will facilitate the deployment of new applications on an existing badge park. A gradual migration will therefore be possible.


The end of DESFire EV2 (and EV1)?

When a new version is released, there are always concerns about compatibility with existing systems. When DESFire EV2 cards were introduced, many companies found that their EV1 systems would not accept them, so NXP continued to manufacture DESFire EV1 Mifare chips.

As seen above, NXP seems to assure us this time that its EV3 chips will be 100% backwards compatible with the EV2 and EV1. The Mifare DESFire EV2 and EV1 chips should therefore, in all logic, gradually disappear.

But for us, nothing beats solid testing before committing to a new version.

Therefore, we offer to send you a free DESFire EV3 card to test and confirm its compatibility with your systems.

So our feedback to NXP on your test results is of paramount importance.

Click here to receive your free test badge

Will the rate explosion stop?

To date, as a consequence of successive factory closures during the "two Covid years", it is very difficult to find Mifare DESFire cards in EV2 version (but in stock at Elliaden). Lhe Mifare DESFire EV1 cards, on the other hand, are still available quite easily but at very high prices.

Rest assured, the EV3 should allow, during 2023, to return to more reasonable prices close to those of 2019, that is to say about 20 to 30% cheaper than the prices currently observed for the EV1 or for the EV2.


Why should the EV3 be cheaper?

The manufacturing process of a contactless smart card is complex and requires more than 15 steps. It is not just a matter of sandwiching a chip and its antenna between two plastic sheets! But we will detail all these steps in a future article.

In terms of raw material costs, it is important to know that the chips are manufactured and delivered by NXP on a pure silicon wafer in the shape of a disc called Wafer. For the Mifare DESFire EV1 and EV2 chips, the wafer has a diameter of 20 cm and for the EV3 of 30 cm. However, on a Mifare DESFire EV1 wafer, there are 17,000 chips. Due to the technological evolution of the EV2 version, its dimensions were larger than those of the EV1 and on this same wafer there were only 7500 chips. However, despite the increase in production costs, NXP did not increase its prices in order not to penalize a market in full evolution.

Since then, 6 years have passed and the design of the chips has evolved enormously. Aoday, for a wafer of Mifare DESFire EV3 chips, certainly 30 cm in diameter, we find... 30,000 chips! Less material is therefore needed to produce a chip, and thanks to this miniaturization, it is possible to produce more chips.Thanks to this miniaturization, the production cost of the chip has been greatly reduced. The investment in research and development has therefore been largely absorbed.

Today, the factories are running normally again and the delivery delays are gradually being made up, gradually rebalancing the ratio between supply and demand, thus reducing the price of the chips.

So, a word of advice: get ready to migrate to Mifare DESFire EV3 as it offers much more advanced features than EV2 and EV1 and should ensure backward compatibility with your existing systems.



Image of a wafer


Control of the chips of a wafer


Extraction of chips from a wafer



The Badge Journal

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Every month, Elliaden offers you a look at one or more essential themes in the world of badges in an accessible, clear and detailed newsletter: The Badge Journal.

You will discover in particular:

- information on the latest access badge technologies

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In just a few minutes, the Badge Journal allows you to update your knowledge of the world of access badges and to reinforce your position as a reference within your company.


About ELLIADEN, the Badge Universe

ELLIADEN is a French company created 17 years ago, specializing in the consulting and distribution of RFID access badges and card printing systems from leading manufacturers. Elliaden also offers the largest catalog of badge accessories in Europe.

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