1394 Trade Association Announces FireWire 3200

Dallas (TX) - The 1394 Trade Association announced today a new specification, one which will quadruple the speed of FireWire to 3.2 Gbps, or a theoretical maximum 400 MB/s transfer rate. Dubbed "S3200", the faster communication technology is fully backward compatible and builds upon the existing 1394b standard ratified in 2002. S3200 will also use the same cabling and equipment as FireWire 800, making for fast adoption and industry uptake. S3200 will begin the ratification process in January, 2008, and is expected to be ratified in February, 2008.

FireWire is an energy efficient, peer-to-peer, non-polling, continuous data communication protocol allowing for up to 97% of transmitted data to be a user-defined data payload, and not communications protocol overhead. FireWire 800 products today deliver 90 MB/s of sustainable throughput. With the anticipated 3% overhead, FireWire 3200 could deliver nearly 390 MB/s of usable data bandwidth, though a straight-forward 400% increase would be 360 MB/s. That is enough to drive full 1920 x 1200 HDTV signals at up to 50 fps.

FireWire hard drives can move data on FireWire 800 nearly three times as fast as with USB 2.0. With FireWire 3200, the advantages eSATA has today will be made moot. FireWire also capable of providing much more electrical power for remote device operation than USB. As a result, FireWire 3200 will be capable of not only communicating with a hard drive at eSATA speeds, but it will also be able to completely power it remotely at those speeds.

Current cable solutions, including long distance cables used for 100+ meter communications, will be used with the new protocol. With full backward compatibility, the internal hardware components will be the only required upgrade parts necessary for system maker adoption. Provided an equal sized unit can be created, it will literally be drop-in upgradeable. As such, FireWire 3200 products should be available very soon after final ratification.