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ARCHIVED: What is FireWire or IEEE 1394?

FireWire is a high-speed serial bus, developed by Apple and Texas Instruments, that allows for the connection of up to 63 external devices. FireWire is also commonly known as the IEEE 1394 standard, and may appear under different names (such as iLink or Lynx) depending on what platform or company implements the technology. The original IEEE 1394 specifications allowed for speeds of 100, 200, and 400 Mbps (million bits per second); IEEE 1394b provides speeds of 800, 1600, and 3200 Mbps.

IEEE 1394 is thus a high-speed bus design ideal for high-bandwidth applications like multimedia. In addition, IEEE 1394 supports Plug and Play connections, hot swapping, multiple speeds on the same bus, and isochronous data transfer, as well as providing power to peripheral devices. Isochronous data transfer is especially useful for devices that require transferring large amounts of data in real time, such as video cameras or digital cameras.

For more on the IEEE 1394 standard, see 1394 Trade Association.

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Last modified on January 03, 2013.

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