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.

1D Type Barcodes

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 BarcodesGS1-128ITFCode-39Code 128
Sample Barcode
Character SetAll ASCII characters & control codesNumbersUppercase letters, Numbers Space-.$/+%All ASCII
LengthVariable14 or 16VariableVariable
Logistics, Healthcare & Automotive
Retail, Healthcare & Logistics

2D Type Barcodes

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 BarcodesData MatrixQR CodeRSSPDF 417
Sample Barcode
  • 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

Barcode Type1D2D
Sample Barcode
Information DensityLowHigh
Information CapacitySmallBig
Omni-direction & Orientation ReadingNoYes
Information TypeNumbers, EnglishNumbers, English, Chinese, pictures, voice and other binary information
Error Detection & Correction FunctionNoYes
Dependence on DatabaseYes, Must depend on database or communication networkNo, depend on database or communication network
NatureObject label & indexDescription on objects

Comparison between Barcode and RFID

BarcodeRFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)
Read RateOnly one at a time10's, 100's or 1000's simultaneously
Read RangeSeveral 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 SpeedSlowVery fast (ms)
Readable Through ObjectsNo, must be line of sightYes
IdentificationMost barcodes only identify the type of item (UPC Code) but not uniquelyCan uniquely identify each item/asset tagged
ReliabilityWrinkled or smeared labels will not be readNearly flawless read rate
Data Capacity<20 characters with linear100's-1000's of characters
Passive (automated) DataNoYes (via portals and smart shelves)
Orientation DependenceYesNo
Simultaneous Scanning of Multiple Codes/TagsNoYes (10-1000 tags per second)

Security QR Codes (SQRC)

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.

Security QR Code Graphic