Officially the IEEE 1394 High Performance Serial Bus (HPSB), FireWire is a high-speed interface developed and promoted mostly by Apple for video transmission. Introduced in 2000, FireWire was added to camcorders and a variety of A/V equipment. Even early iPods could connect via FireWire. However, on modern camcorders, FireWire was replaced with USB, HDMI and other video outputs.
FireWire 400 and 800
FireWire 400 was limited to a distance of 4.5 meters. In 2003, FireWire 800 increased the range to 100 meters and doubled the transfer rate. FireWire supported 63 devices, real-time data transfer, hot swapping and simultaneous multiple speeds. The faster 1600 and 3200 versions never got into production. See PC data buses
FIREWIRE VERSION TRANSFER RATES
1394a - 4.5 METER CABLE LENGTH
FW400 400 Mbps
1394b - 100 METER CABLE LENGTH
FW800 800 Mbps
FW1600 1600 Mbps
FW3200 3200 Mbps
FireWire Sockets and Compatibility
FW800 was backward compatible with FW400. One end of a "bilingual cable" had an FW800 plug, while the other end was FW400. Sony's i.Link was a miniaturized socket that connected to cables with i.Link, FW400 or FW800 at the other end.
Easy to Tell
FireWire sockets were easily distinguished from their USB counterparts.
Dual Mode FW/USB
This external hard drive connected to the computer via FireWire or USB, whichever cable was plugged in.