Friday, June 02, 2006

What is FireWire?

In today’s digital life with large multimedia files containing rich video and audio, transferring data between devices is a very time consuming process. Some data files such as virtual hard disks (used with Microsoft Virtual PC and VMWare) can run up to a few GBs. FireWire is a technology which helps transfer data at extremely high speeds (up to 800 Mbps, for the 9 pin Apple’s FireWire 800). It can connect to multiple devices like iPods, Video Digital Cameras, external hard disk drives, computers etc.

The 6-Pin connector

FireWire is also known as i.Link or IEEE 1394. The standard IEEE 1394 version of FireWire is a 6 pin connector, whereas Sony’s version of FireWire which is also called i.Link is a 4 pin connector.

The 4-Pin connector

FireWire is known to be faster than SCSI cables and much easier to set up. FireWire is under patent by Apple. FireWire cable can have a maximum length of 4.5 meters, but can be connected linearly with up to 16 cables, effectively providing the length of 72 meters. In my opinion, for most practical and home purposes 4.5 meters is a pretty reasonable length for transferring data between two devices.


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