FireWire

What Does FireWire Mean?

FireWire is a high-speed real-time interface for serial bus and isochronous/synchronous data transfer between enabled devices. Known for its high-performance, FireWire is used with digital audio/video, camcorders, home entertainment applications, central processing units (CPU) and personal computers (PC) and offers sustained transfer rates of over 3200 Mbits/s.

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In 1986, Apple initiated FireWire as its main communications interface as a version of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) IEEE 1394 standard. FireWire was commercially released in the mid-1990s. FireWire is also known as IEEE 1394, i.LINK and Lynx.

Techopedia Explains FireWire

FireWire is used for audio-video (A/V) communication and built into most Apple operating systems. It is available in wireless, fiber optic, and coaxial isochronous protocol versions.

FireWire features include:

  • Plug and socket connector capability for up to 63 devices with data transfer rate (DTR) speeds up to 400 Mbps
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) device communication networking without central processing unit (CPU) or system memory
  • Plug-and-play support, which allows operating systems (OS) to automatically detect and configure new peripherals without system shutdown
  • Hot swapping, which enables component removal and replacement without system shutdown.
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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.