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As a fan of Surface Go and Surface Go 2, I sometimes get asked about a little-known capability: Near field communication (NFC), the technology behind card readers. Even though we have only limited support for NFC, there are a growing number of third-party solutions that take advantage of the card reading capability.




All Surface Go for Business and Surface Go 2 for Business devices are equipped to take advantage of greater third-party support for passwordless authentication.  Azure AD now supports FIDO2 security keys as an authentication method for signing into operating systems, applications, and services. Organizations can issue these keys to everyday information workers.


And we’re seeing more innovations in the marketplace that build on the NFC capabilities in Surface Go: 

AuthenTrend Technology ATKey.Card

Our friends in Azure recently partnered with AuthenTrend Technology in using its ATKey.Card Smart Badge type security card with Surface Go 2.  To learn more, check out this recent Ignite session:


Go passwordless Hands on Tour in Azure AD.png



Imprivata OneSign

The increasing use of Surface Go as a shared mobile device in health care settings means protecting personal medical information has never been more critical. To meet this challenge, Imprivata OneSign provides an NFC solution that enables health care providers to simply tap their badge (instead of typing a username and password) to access the device and applications, which protects private health information with minimal disruption to the user.


 “There’s tons of sensitive data on these devices that need to be secured but protecting these devices can’t be disruptive for the end-user clinicians focused on patient care,” Imprivata explains in the following video. The “seamless process gives them access to that tablet without having to enter a username or password or having to put a call into IT because they forgot those passwords.”


Seamless access to Surface Go Tablets with Imprivata OneSign.png


The Joy Factory aXtion Pro MPA NFC for Surface Go

This waterproof case features an NFC range extender for use in health care settings.  Infused with an antimicrobial agent to help prevent against bacteria and mold growth, the military-grade certified aXtion Pro MPA for Surface Go features a built-in rotating module with hand strap and non-slip kickstand. To learn more, see this short demo: 


Joy Factory aXtion Pro MP.png



Here are some answers to questions that typically come up when talking about the NFC functionality in Surface Go.


Is NFC available on all Surface Go and Surface Go 2 devices?

  • NFC is only available on Surface Go for Business and Surface Go 2 for Business devices.

Can the NFC be disabled through UEFI or DFCI?

  • Not at this time.

Can Go NFC be used to issue (digital wallet) or process (point of sale) payments?

  •  No. The NFC component does not include a secured element and the interface is not HID but a simple I2C.

Is multi factor authentication on Surface Go compliant with FIDO2.0 standards?

  • Yes, when combined with compliant authentication solutions and server, such as using Authentrend Key Card, Windows Hello and Azure AD.

Can I access and use NFC from the front of the device?

  • Yes, but only if the card has an independent power source like Authentrend. Passive cards can only be read from the back of the device — at very close proximity of ~10mm.

How can I troubleshoot multiple failed read attempts?

  • Recall the location of the effective read area on the device.

  • Remove any other NFC tags or NFC-enabled cards in the vicinity. limited NFC support is available for ISO/IEC 14443-A tag types 1 and 2 with antenna diameter between 15mm to 17mm.

  • We recommend using the Mifare Classic 1K card type.

  • Try keeping your badge in a nylon sleeve rather than a hard plastic case.

  • You might find this tool useful for troubleshooting: Springcard.

What are some other commercial uses?

  • Proximity-based apps. Applications that take advantage of proximity and location by using the RFID capability in Surface Go  and a proximity sensor in Windows 10.

  • Consumer apps.  RFID-enabled apps capable of directing consumers to target websites. For example,  users can swipe an RFID-enabled prescription container that opens relevant product information.

Learn more

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

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