New version of IEEE 1394 standard approved; provides for FireWire speeds up to 3.2 Gigabit/second

IEEE has approved IEEE 1394, “Standard for High Performance Serial Bus.” The revised specification combines and incorporates all previous IEEE 1394 standards developed since 1994.

Commercially known under the brand names of FireWire and i.LINK, the IEEE 1394 standard provides specifications for a high-speed serial bus which supports both asynchronous and isochronous communication and integrates well with most IEEE standard 32-bit and 64-bit parallel buses. More than 500 million IEEE 1394 ports have been produced since the standard was first published in 1995.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s Macs with FireWire 400 ports that support IEEE 1394a can operate at up to 400 megabits per second and Macs that include FireWire 800 ports that support IEEE 1394b operate at up to 800 megabits per second.

“The new standard includes all of the amendments, enhancements and more than 100 errata which have been added to the base standard over the last 12 years,” said Les Baxter, chair of the working group which developed the standard, in the press release. “This update provides developers with a single document they can rely upon for all of their application needs.”

The 1394-2008 standard updates and revises all prior 1394 standards, including 1394a, 1394b, 1394c, enhanced UTP, and the 1394 beta plus PHY-Link interface. It also incorporates the complete specifications for S1600 (1.6 Gigabit/second bandwidth) and for S3200, which provides 3.2 Gigabit/second speeds.

The standard is expected to be available this October.

Source: IEEE Standards Association

Apple’s FireWire information is here.

[Attribution 9 to 5 Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]


  1. Good can we allow FireWire on the “iProducts” again? USB is crap and slow. My iPhone won’t even accept a FireWire connection. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”confused” style=”border:0;” />

  2. “Obsolete” is referring to the loss of the FireWire connector on iPods, which switched to USB because it was significantly cheaper and “good enough” for a portable device such as an iPod. All their Macs continue to have FireWire built-in.

  3. It dumped USB from iPods certainly. But that’s probably because the PC market in general still swears by USB. Considering how long it took Windows to get decent USB support and actually start putting USB into their computers (although many still are stuck with PS2 ports and such) who can blame them?

  4. USB 3.0 is supposed to be faster than FireWire 3200.

    “A Super-Speed (3.0) rate of 4.8 Gbit/s (600 MB/s). The USB 3.0 specification will be released by Intel and its partners in mid-2008, according to early reports from CNET news. According to Intel, bus speeds will be 10 times faster than USB 2.0 due to the inclusion of a fiber-optic link that works with traditional copper connectors. Products using the 3.0 specification are likely to arrive in 2009 or 2010.”

    Normally FireWire works better and faster since it is self contained, where as USB has to rely on the CPU for help, thus slowing performance.

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