Barcode ID Badges

1-D Barcode ID Cards

1-D Barcode ID Card

Barcodes are one of the most popular methods of incorporating computer automation into ID badges for organizations focused on value. Barcodes are easy to create, as the information can be personalized on the ID card during the normal ID card printing process using a variety of solutions from AdvantIDge.

For a quick background, a barcode consists of a group of patterned bars and spaces of numeric or alpha numeric data. They are scanned and read by a barcode reader to verify cardholder identity. Barcodes can include detailed personalized data such as a cardholder’s name, address, department, employee number, access authorizations, training status, expiring date and biometric fingerprint or portrait data, depending on the type of barcode used.

In general there are two kinds of barcodes, 1-D and 2-D. One-dimensional linear barcodes (1-D) consist of a single row of bars, which store less data than two-dimensional barcodes, making them best for applications that need only encode a few characters, such as a single unique character string used as a pass code in secure access control ID card systems. The data stored on 1-D barcodes is usually printed along the long edge of an ID card since the string is limited by space. They are read using swipe style ID card readers, with either visible or infrared sensors which feels familiar to users who are accustomed to swiping a mag stripe card.

2-D Barcode ID cards

2-D Barcode ID card

Two dimensional (2D) barcodes store more information and appear as a matrix of variable sized square dots, usually read by a raster-scanning beam sensor in a hand held barcode reader “gun”. In fixed supermarket style card readers, they don’t require swiping as items are waved in front of reader. 2-D barcodes can encode up to 500 bytes per square inch, making it possible to store biometric data such as fingerprint and signature capture, or compressed versions of cardholder portraits. This feature is unique to 2-D barcodes and is not available with linear barcodes. Since 2-D barcodes do not require swiping and are tolerant of artefacts, physical wear is rarely a problem. There are few downsides to using 2-D barcodes beyond the higher cost of the barcode scanners and software which are more advanced than linear barcode applications.

Most people don’t realize that the “height” of a barcode is not important, however the taller each bar is the easier it will be for a barcode reader to read it. About 0.4 inch (1 cm) centered on the ID card reader sensor is normally sufficient.

Barcodes are susceptible to being copied so it’s important to consider if possible security breaches due to copied barcodes will adversely affect your operations. Barcode ID cards also pose the risk of potentially becoming physically damaged due to the manner in which they are usually used, i.e. being repeatedly swiped or heavily handled. Despite these risks, the major advantage of a barcode ID card is 2-D barcode’s capacity for data encoding, which can be up to 500 bytes per square inch. Some of this data will normally be used for error correction encoding, making 2D barcodes remarkably tolerant of holes, cuts and dirt marks.

Barcodes should always be printed using the Black Resin K panel of an ID card printer ribbon because this color is opaque to both visible and infrared sensors. As a security measure it is possible to print a black resin barcode on top of a dark YMC color panel in such a way that it cannot be photocopied, but it will still be able to be read by an infrared swipe reader.

Contact us today for a brief consultation to discover how barcodes can bring innovation to your organization to increase efficiency while maintaining security and access to sensitive data. We provide consultative services that insure your identity management solutions support your goals for safety and security.

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