Leading motherboard and computer makers are adopting the high-bandwidth, long-distance version of the 1394b (FireWire standard at a rapid rate now for high end computers, according to the 1394 Trade Association. The Trade Association estimates that volumes of 1394b devices will reach at least 5 million within 18 months.
The 'b' version of the FireWire standard operates at up to 800 Megabits/second, and enables product connectivity at distances up to 100 meters without repeaters. Products using the 1394b audio-video connection can operate with legacy systems that use the original FireWire version, 1394a, including notebook computers, desktops, storage devices and a complete range of consumer electronics, including HDTVs and set top boxes. The FireWire standard will soon enable 1.6 Gigabit/second data transfers and, over the intermediate term, will reach 3.2 Gigabit/second capabilities.
"1394b is now being designed into high-end motherboards and computers to deliver top speed and bandwidth for a new generation of computing products," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "With 1394b, computers can transfer data at 800 Megabits per second which is a major advantage for users working with video files and high-quality images. By the end of this year, we expect to see components for 1394 home networking which will take advantage of the long distance benefits of 1394b, so devices can communicate over standard category 5 cable at 100 meters per hop."
Snider said that early designs using the 1394b technology are concentrated among the leading motherboard manufacturers in Taiwan and the U.S.