Feeds

Firewire to gain 3.2Gb/s bandwidth boost

If it weren't for those pesky kids and their USB 3...

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Not to be outdone by rival peripheral interconnect technology USB, Firewire is likewise having its data throughput increased, the organisation behind the standard said today. But it's target speed of 3.2Gb/s falls some way below that of USB 3.0.

Firewire currently supports two speeds: 400Mb/s and 800Mb/s. Both use different connectors so they're not plug compatible, though chips capable of delivering the latter speed can also support the former.

The 1394 Trade Association said the third incarnation of the technology, dubbed S3200, will use the nine-pin Firewire 800 connector. Indeed, it also uses many of the same protocols - no great surprise since the IEEE 1394b standard that defines Firewire 800 allows for speeds of up to 3.2Gb/s, albeit over optical interconnects.

So S3200 essentially provides the extra technology to deliver that speed over electric links. However, the Association implied the differences are small, allowing chip makers to quickly adapt their current offerings for the third-generation Firewire 3200 - or whatever it'll be marketed as.

The Association said the spec is expected to be approved by the IEEE early in February 2008.

That will put it some months ahead of the USB 3.0 standard, which is expected to be finalised by the end of June 2008. However, USB 3.0 is set to deliver speeds of up to 4.7Gb/s - almost 50 per cent more bandwidth than S3200.

Of course, Firewire supporters maintain that their favoured technology is more efficient than USB and is superior in that it's a peer-to-peer system, allowing any Firewire device to connect to any other, and devices to be chained. USB is defined as a host-slave technology, and while a peer-to-peer version is available, it's not widely used.

And Firewire - even Firewire 400 - is generally faster in operation than 480Mb/s USB 2.0. The 1394 Trade Association clearly hopes that will be maintained, potentially allowing S3200 to deliver faster real-world file transfer speeds than 4.7Gb/s USB.

The 1394 Trade Association was also quick to point out Firewire is the "only" technology of its kind with the capacity to deliver full-resolution video data that's also copy protected. Once again, this is something the USB alliance is also now working on in a bid to make its offering less of a computer-centric technology and more suitable for the consumer electronics world.

Expect USB 3.0 to host HDCP-encoded video signals.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.