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IEEE 1394 FireWare Connectors, Cables, and Ports

While USB ports and connectors have long served as the dominant standard for computers and devices to exchange power and data, there are other various means of establishing connections between electronics. As another major standard connection type, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) cables, connectors, and ports allow for devices such as video cameras, scanners, printers, external hard drive equipment, and other various peripherals to be connected to a computer or system. To help you understand the use of IEEE 1394 standard components and how they compare to USB connections, we will discuss them in more detail.

The term “FireWire” comes from the brand name given by Apple to their IEEE 1394 standard components, though other companies may utilize other names. As a type of “plug-and-play” element, FireWire components enable devices to be automatically detected by the computer when they are plugged in, allowing for any necessary drivers to be quickly installed for an ease of use. Additionally, IEEE 1394 standard components are hot-swappable, and this means that they can be connected or disconnected as necessary without having to fully shut down the computer before making a change.

The IEEE 1394 standard is beneficial for its wide support of operating systems, working on Linux, Mac OS, and all Windows versions ranging from 98 to 10. For applications or processes that require a large number of peripherals to be connected to a system at the same time, upwards of 63 systems can be daisy-chained to an IEEE 1394 bus or controlling device. This is coupled with the ability for devices of different speeds to be connected to a single bus or controlling device without performance issues, further promoting versatility in use.

While FireWire components are often utilized for connecting devices to computer systems, there are many instances when they may be used without a reliance on a computer or its resources. For instance, two digital cameras may establish a connection with IEEE 1394 parts, allowing for data to be transferred between each camera without the use of computer memory. This is made possible with the peer-to-peer network capabilities of IEEE 1394 standard connectors, cables, and ports.

Despite FireWire and USB technology sharing a very similar purpose in the transfer of data, their major differences lie in their availability and speed. While USB continues to be the golden standard of most devices and computer systems, FireWire support is generally something that one will have to add themselves with the addition of system hardware as most store-bought systems will be devoid of such features. Additionally, some computers may not be compatible with FireWire hardware in the first place, limiting their use. As a result of this difference, FireWire and IEEE 1394 technology will often be more expensive when compared to USB.

Recently, USB4 technology was released with ports and cables that enable transfer speeds upwards of 40,960 Mbps. With FireWire being limited to around 800 Mbps, USB technology has a clear advantage in the present. Additionally, USB surpasses FireWire in terms of backward compatibility which can be important when someone wishes to use legacy hardware. Despite this, the ability for FireWire devices to establish connection between a high number of systems, all without needing a computer, allows for them to maintain a clear benefit that accommodates specific needs.

ASAP Semiconductor is a leading supplier of IEEE 1394 FireWire parts and other computer hardware components, all of which are offered with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times for our customers’ benefit. Take the time to explore our user-friendly purchasing platform as you see fit, and our search engine and filters make it easy to narrow down parts, NSNs, and manufacturers with ease. We also encourage you to utilize our Instant RFQ services, allowing you to request quotes quickly and easily. Within 15 minutes of receiving a completed form, a dedicated account manager will quickly reach out to you with a customized quote for your comparisons. With our peerless dedication to quality control and export compliance, we proudly operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B accreditation as a business. Start fulfilling your sounding needs with us today and see how ASAP Semiconductor is revolutionizing the purchasing process for our customers.


October 13, 2021

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