Advantages of Firewire | disadvantages of Firewire IEEE 1394

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Firewire (IEEE 1394). It mentions benefits or advantages of Firewire and drawbacks or disadvantages of Firewire.

What is Firewire?

The firewire specifications are defined in IEEE 1394 by Apple. It defines specifications for high performance serial bus to connect devices to PCs. It is the method to transport information between devices such as audio and video equipments.

Firewire Sockets and Connector

There are different standards and versions of Firewire viz. Firewire 400, Firewire 800, Firewire S800T, Firewire S1600, Firewire S3200 and so on. It supports speeds up to 3200 Mbps. IEEE 1394 is comparable to USB. It supports isochronous real time data transfer and used as serial bus for high speed communications.

Benefits or advantages of Firewire

Following are the benefits or advantages of Firewire:
➨It can connect more devices (~63) on daisy chain compare to Thunderbolt (~6).
➨It is widely used in devices than Thunderbolt.
➨Firewire is much older technology than Thunderbolt.
➨IEEE 1394 is co-operatively managed by connected devices where as USB requires master controller.
➨It allows devices with moderate power requirements to operate without separate power supply.
➨It supports cable length of 4.5 meters which is better than Thunderbolt with copper wires.
➨FireWire supports full duplex communication i.e. simultaneous communication in both the directions unlike previous versions to USB3.0.
➨Firewire host supports DMA and memory mapped devices which allows data transfer without waiting for host CPU with interrupts and buffer copy operations.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Firewire

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Firewire:
➨It is slower in speed (~3.2 Gbps) than Thunderbolt (~40 Gbps latest version 4).
➨Firewire is limited to use with copper cables unlike Thunderbolt which is used both with copper or fiber optic cables.

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