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A subset of the SCSI-3 standard, also known as IEEE 1394, Firewire is a new high speed data exchange protocol developed at Apple. Occasionally it is referred to as “serial SCSI” because it is a serial protocol and conforms to SCSI standards as well. It is now a common interface on new digital video equipment and is beginning to be used in audio as well. FireWire is fast: it starts at 100 Megabits per second and goes on up past 400 Mbs, easily handling the bandwidth required for a 30 frame-per-second 640×480 pixel datastream from a prosumer video camera. FireWire supports asynchronous (see WFTD archive asynchronous) transfers, as well as isochronous (see WFTD archive isochronous) transfers so that a stream of video from a video camera can co-exist on the same FireWire bus with another sending device, yet the bus will still carry the video images continuously without discontinuities. Another benefit of FireWire is that it is a hot swappable technology (see WFTD archive hot swap) and allows 63 devices on a buss with auto termination and identification.

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