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Optical IEEE 1394 does 100m in 400Mbps

Japanese boffins square FireWire-on-optical circle

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Japanese researchers have succeeded in getting IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire) to operate over optical links at full speed - and over much greater distances than has been previously possible. So far, attempts to get 1394 operating over optical links have sacrificed the data throughput rates for cable length. After all, extending 1394 beyond its metal cable length limit of 4.5m is what moving to optical is all about. Last year, Sony and Sharp announced they were jointly developing an optical version of 1394 that supported cable lengths of up to 10m. The snag: the link's speed fell from the 1394 standard, 400Mbps, to just 100Mbps. However, researchers at the Electronic Industries Association of Japan (EIAJ) claim to have not only got the speed back up to 400Mbps, but can maintain that speed over cables up to 100m long. At that sort of length, it would be possible to network an entire house with optical FireWire cabling, allowing consumer electronics devices and computers to interoperate. The technology isn't yet ready for use outside the lab, but an EIAJ spokesman claimed it will be very inexpensive when it does come to market. ® Related Stories NEC unveils IEEE 1394 'Firewireless' home LAN Sony, Sharp create optical 1394 for portable devices Canon gets 1394 'FireWireless' up to 100Mbps

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