IEEE 1394-1995

The IEEE 1394-1995 marketed as Fireware by Apple is a peer to peer device interface.

This standard describes a high-speed, low-cost serial bus suitable for use as a peripheral bus, a backup to parallel backplane buses, or a local area network. Highlights of the serial bus include the following: a)Bus transactions that include both block and single quadlet reads and writes, as well as an “isochronous” mode that provides a low-overhead guaranteed bandwidth service. 

  • Bus transactions that include both block and single quadlet reads and writes, as well as an “isochronous” mode that provides a low-overhead guaranteed bandwidth service.
  • A fair bus access mechanism that guarantees all nodes equal access. The backplane environment adds a priority mechanism, but one that ensures that nodes using the fair protocol are still guaranteed at least partial access.
  • Automatic assignment of node addresses–no need for address switches. 
  • For the cable medium, data transmission rates of 98.304 Mbit/s (known as S100), S200, S400, S800, S1600, and S3200 are supported.
  • A short-haul cable medium that allows up to 16 physical connections (cable hops), each up to 4.5 m, giving a total cable distance of 72 m between any two devices. 
  • A long-haul cable medium that permits connections up to 100 m in length over unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable and glass optical fiber (GOF) and up to 50 m over plastic optical fiber (POF).
  • Consistency with ISO/IEC 13213:1994 (IEEE Std 1212(TM), 1994 Edition).

The goal of a low cost interface appears to have nay desirable characteristics. The data rates are fast enough for handling even video applications. Its unknown how well this faster interface will be at competing with USB.