Canon gets 1394 ‘FireWireless’ up to 100Mbps

Takes wireless 1394 beyond wireless Ethernet

Canon has developed a wireless version of the IEEE 1394 bus capable of transmitting data at a rate of 100Mbps, Japanese newswire Nikkei reported today. The company said the system, currently in the prototype stage, can transfer data between devices up to 20m apart -- Canon demonstrated the technology using a VCR and a digital camcorder. The prototype operates at a signal frequency of 60GHz. It is not yet known whether the system requires a line-of-sight connection. This isn't the first attempt to extend 1394 into the wireless world. Consumer electronics giant Philips had previously developed a prototype system that operates at several megabits per second. By comparison, radio-based wireless networking systems, such as Apple's AirPort technology, transmit data at around 11Mbps. Of course, products like that are aimed more at networking roles than device-to-device communication, 1394's raison d'etre. However, given that 1394, unlike USB, can operate on a true peer-to-peer basis, so its use as an networking technology -- at least in a wireless context, if not across a cable -- perhaps shouldn't be ruled out. Canon said it will submit the specification for its technology to the 1394 Trade Association, which is currently developing a wireless specification for the bus. ®

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