This article describes the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 1394 standard and how to use IEEE 1394 with Microsoft Windows XP.
NOTE: Apple Computer FireWire is a common implementation of the IEEE 1394 standard.
IEEE 1394 Capabilities
The IEEE 1394 standard defines a high speed serial interface that can be used to connect peripheral devices, for example, printers, scanners, and cameras, to your computer. Some common features of the IEEE 1394 standard are:
A simple plug and socket connection. This connection is visually similar to universal serial bus (USB) connections, although USB and IEEE 1394 are not compatible.
The capacity to have up to 63 devices connected serially (in series) to a single port.
Data transfer speeds of up to the rate of 400 megabytes (MB) per second. (The maximum speed is presently 200 MB per second.)
Thin wire cable.
Hot plug and play capability. (You do not need to turn off a computer to connect and use a peripheral device.)
The ability to chain devices together in a number of different ways without terminators or complicated setup requirements.
The ability for IEEE 1394-compliant devices to connect together without the use of a computer (for example, when you are dubbing video tapes).
Asynchronous communication for batch or packet data transfer and storage.
Isochronous communication for real-time voice and video transmission, and any other program that is better-suited for streaming data transfer.
Devices as far apart as 4.5 meters (nearly 15 feet) can be connected.
IEEE 1394 on Windows XP
Windows XP has built-in IEEE 1394 support. To use all the capabilities of the IEEE 1394 standard, your computer must have an IEEE 1394 adapter installed. If your computer has a FireWire adapter, the adaptor is IEEE 1394 compatible. Some of the capabilities of a Windows XP-based computer with the IEEE 1394 standard are:
Instant network connectivity by plugging two or more computers together (no additional hardware or software required).
End-to-end throughput of over 50 Mbps with plenty of digital bandwidth remaining for demanding audio-visual programs.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) over IEEE 1394. This feature makes it very easy to share a single Internet connection when you connect one computer to the Internet and then connect more computers to the first computer. The Windows XP built-in Internet Connection Sharing feature provides the necessary software support.
NOTE: Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) and other networking protocols are not supported.
The ability to use IEEE 1394 drivers for peripheral devices. These drivers are provided by the manufacturers of the devices.
Windows XP comes with full support with IEEE 1394; you are not required to install any software. If you need to install an adapter, simply plug it in to an available adapter slot, and Windows XP completes the installation.
To install an IEEE 1394 device, your computer must have an IEEE 1394 adapter. If it does, then you are only required to plug in the device.
The IEEE 1394 drivers that you may need are provided by the manufacturer. Most IEEE 1394 devices do not need special drivers.