|FireWire is a high-speed serial communication
standard defined by IEEE 1394. It was originally designated by Apple, where the
name "FireWire" came from. Sometimes it has also been referred to as iLINK (a
Sony branding initiative). With a 400 Mbps bandwidth, FireWire can be used to
connect high-speed devices such as video camcorders, audio recorders, and
external storage devices. The theoretical limit for the bandwidth is 400 Mbps
(or 800 Mbps with FireWire 800), although actual throughput is slightly slower.
A FireWire bus is self-powered (FireWire peripherals can derive power from the
bus, eliminating the need for a separate power cord, only 6 pin and 9 pin
connectors carry the power). The bus configures itself automatically (not
requiring device IDs or terminators); and it is hot-pluggable (one can connect
and use a FireWire peripheral via a simple modular connector without having to
restart the computer).|
FireWire replaced SCSI as Apple's standard high-speed interface beginning with the blue G3 PowerMac; PCI cards and PC Cards can bring FireWire ports to PCI PowerMacs and PowerBook G3's, respectively.
FireWire Digital Video (DV) camcorders, digital still cameras, and analog-digital video converters are already available, with mass storage devices (hard drives, magneto-optical drives, high-capacity removable drives, tape drives, and CD/DVD drives) and printers mostly still to come.
Devices on the bus are Hot-Swappable.
Transmitting data over CAT 5 cable allows data at 100Mbps to travel 100 Meters (1394b).
PCMCIA FireWire cards do not provide power so peripherals like the iPod would need their own external power supply.
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