Barcodes Overview

The implementation of a successful barcode system starts with the symbol. The code is selected based upon data requirements of application and the capabilities of the scanning system used.

Go to 1D Type Barcodes | 2D Type Barcodes | Comparison between 1D and 2D Barcode
Comparison between Barcode and RFID | Security QR Codes

1D Type Barcodes

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Linear barcodes are uni-dimensional, i.e. the same data is present in all vertical elements. If you increase the number of characters in a linear barcode, it expands horizontally. The vertical dimension remains unchanged. Increasing the height of a linear barcode does not change its data capacity, just the ease of scanning.

1D Type Barcodes GS1-128 ITF Code-39 Code 128
Sample Barcode GS1-128 Barcode Sample ITF Barcode Sample Code-39 Barcode Sample Code 128 Barcode Sample
Character Set All ASCII characters & control codes Numbers Uppercase letters, Numbers Space-.$/+% All ASCII
Length Variable 14 or 16 Variable Variable
Application(s) Logistics Distribution
Logistics, Healthcare & Automotive
Retail, Healthcare & Logistics

2D Type Barcodes

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The 2-D symbologies take advantage of both horizontal and vertical encodation to reduce the symbol size and achieve character densities up to 2000 characters per square inch. There are two primary approaches taken. The first is to "stack" high-density linear symbols with very small vertical measurements. The other is to use a "pattern" code in which data can be en­ coded in an X-Y matrix.

2D Type Barcodes Data Matrix QR Code RSS PDF 417
Sample Barcode Data Matrix Barcode Sample QR Code Barcode Sample RSS Barcode Sample PDF 417 Barcode Sample

Marking on small items

Fast Reading

Fast reading 360 degree scanning

Large data storage

Options to scan only the lower portion

Flexibility in barcode patterns

Large data storage

High security

Flexibility in barcode size


Comparison between 1D and 2D Barcode

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Barcode Type 1D 2D
Sample Barcode 1D Barcode Diagram 2D Barcode Diagram
Information Density Low High
Information Capacity Small Big
Omni-direction & Orientation Reading No Yes
Information Type Numbers, English Numbers, English, Chinese, pictures, voice and other binary information
Error Detection & Correction Function No Yes
Dependence on Database Yes, Must depend on database or communication network No, depend on database or communication network
Nature Object label & index Description on objects

Comparison between Barcode and RFID

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  Barcode RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)
  Example of Barcodes Example of a RFID Antenna
Read Rate Only one at a time 10's, 100's or 1000's simultaneously
Read Range Several inches up to several feet

Passive UHF RFID:
- Up to 40 feet (fixed readers)
- Up to 20 feet (handheld readers)

Active RFID:
- Up to 100's of feet or more

Read Speed Slow Very fast (ms)
Readable Through Objects No, must be line of sight Yes
Identification Most barcodes only identify the type of item (UPC Code) but not uniquely Can uniquely identify each item/asset tagged
Reliability Wrinkled or smeared labels will not be read Nearly flawless read rate
Data Capacity <20 characters with linear 100's-1000's of characters
Ruggedness No Yes
Passive (automated) Data No Yes (via portals and smart shelves)
Orientation Dependence Yes No
Simultaneous Scanning of Multiple Codes/Tags No Yes (10-1000 tags per second)
Updatable No Yes

Security QR Codes (SQRC)

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Security QR Codes
Security QR Code Graphic

SQRC (Security QR Code) is developed from the QR code and is meant to prevent unauthorized access to the personal and private data capture of users. With the Security QR Code, only authorized users with the correct encryption key can access the hidden data.