Access Control Cards
Made from plastic or PVC, access control cards are used to verify identity, grant access, and monitor movement throughout a premises. Magnetic stripe and proxmity cards are the two most commonly used methods of access control.
A barcode is an array of machine-readable rectangular bars and spaces arranged specifically so that when scanned, the arrangement is translated to yield human-readable data. Bar codes come in a variety of arrangements to suit any security need:
- 1D Bar codes - Called "1D" because they store data in one dimension, horizontally. The width of the vertical bars and the thickness of the spaces between are unique to each barcode, and store identifying data. Types of 1D barcodes include:
Code 128 (A, B, and C), Code 39 (regular and full ASCII), Code 93 (regular full ASCII), Codabar, EAN-13 (UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8, ISBN, ISSN), EAN/UCC-128 (SSCC-18, SCC-14), Industrial 2 of 5, Interleaved 2 of 5, and MSI Plessy.
Example of Code 128 barcode, encoded with "IDSoftware.com"
- 2D Barcodes - 2D Bar codes store data both horizontally and vertically. In 1D bar codes, data is read horizontally and gleaned from the bars and spaces that compose a barcode. In 2D barcodes, the bars and spaces that compose the code still hold the data, but they store data both vertically and horizontally, and have a more geometric appearance. Types of 2D barcodes include PDF417 and Data Matrix.
Example of PDF417 barcode, encoded with "IDSoftware.com"
- Postnet Barcodes - The Postnet bar code was specifically designed by the United States Postal Service for efficient sorting of mail by ZIP code. Unlike 1D and 2D barcodes, Postnet barcodes use the height of the bars, not their width nor the width of the spaces between, to store data.
Example of Postnet barcode
Biometrics utilizes physical or behavioral traits to verify identity. Biometrics can use fingerprints, retina patterns or hand geometry (physical traits), or the sound of a voice or the distinct traits of a signature (behavioral traits). Biometrics data is a highly secure way of verifying identity and granting access. Users commonly have biometric information stored on a smart card that, when inserted into a special biometric reader, reads their unique traits and subsequently will grant or deny access.
Coercivity is a term which describes how strong a magnetic field must be to affect data encoded on a magnetic stripe. Measured in Oersteds (Oe), coercity is also a term which quantifies the difficulty of embedding information in a magnetic stripe.
HiCo, or High Coercivity, is a process which encodes cards with outstanding protection against stray magnetic fields. Since HiCo cards are more difficult to encode than Low Coercivity cards, they are slightly more expensive.
Holographic printing is a unique process that gives a three-dimensional effect on a flat surface. Because they are difficult to duplicate and are aesthetically pleasing, holograms are a popular security measure on many ID cards.
Magnetic (“Mag”) Stripe
Composed of magnetized resin particles, magnetic stripes are present on the back of many ID cards. The composition of the resin material determines the coercivity of the stripe. The higher the coercivity, the more difficult it is to embed (and erase) information from the stripe. Magnetic stripes used often in many different applications, including: school ID cards, library cards, access control and time and attendance.
Smart cards are plastic or PVC cards which are embedded with a microprocessor or memory chip. There are several types of smart cards: Memory, Contact, Contactless, Hybrid (Twin), Combi (Dual Interface), Proximity and Vicinity.