Firewire is a Serial communications technology that offers 12.5, 25 or 50 MByte/s communications between up to 63 devices with a 14 foot maximum cable length. Cables have four data wires and two power lines. Hot plugging of devices is supported. There is an IEEE Standard 1395-1995. (A typo? IEEE-1394?) Initial prices for 25MBps Firewire are expected to be comparable to high end SCSI It expected that the first production Firewire devices will appear in 1998 and will probably have both SCSI and Firewire interfaces. 800Mbit/sec Firewire was announced in 2003.

Early equipment tended to operate at nuch lower rates than the advertised 400Mbit/sec. It is unclear what sort of data rates are actually attained using Firewire.

Firewire does not currently (1997) support fibre optic connections. A study group is looking at adding the capability as well as higher transmission speeds.

As of 1998, it is reported that Apple is demanding high licensing fees for use of the "firewire" name. It has been projected that many products may be sold as "IEEE-1394" without the "firewire" moniker. Sony uses a subset without power wiring in the cable called i-Link for their Digital Video equipment.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2002 by Donald Kenney.