FireWire: Frequently Asked Questions

This document contains frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding FireWire, with answers to those questions.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Questions answered in this document:

  1. What is FireWire?
  2. What is the data transfer speed?
  3. Does FireWire have "plug-and-play" capability?
  4. What is FireWire Target Disk Mode?
  5. How many FireWire devices can be connected at any one time?
  6. Does a FireWire device need to be turned on, before it is connected to the FireWire port?
  7. Can FireWire devices be connected in a daisy chain?
  8. What is i.LINK?

Question 1: What is FireWire?

Answer: FireWire, also known as IEEE 1394, is one of the fastest peripheral standards ever developed. It was developed by Apple in the 1990s and has been included with Macintosh computers beginning with the Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White) model. FireWire has been widely adopted as a standard by digital peripheral companies such as Sony, Canon, JVC and Kodak. Specifications for FireWire ports used in Apple products can be found in technical document 58207: "FireWire Ports: Specifications."

Question 2: What is the data transfer speed?

Answer: FireWire can transfer data at up to 400 Mbps. FireWire 800 can transfer data at up to 800 Mbps.

Question 3: Does FireWire have "plug-and-play" capability?

Answer: Yes, if the FireWire device is designed according to the FireWire standard, the device can be connected and disconnected, while both the device and the Macintosh are turned on.

Question 4: What is FireWire Target Disk Mode?

Answer: FireWire Target Disk Mode allows a Macintosh computer with a FireWire port (the target computer) to be used as an external hard disk connected to another computer (the host). See technical document 58583 :"Macintosh: How to Use FireWire Target Disk Mode" for further information.

Question 5: How many FireWire devices can be connected at any one time?

Answer: Fire Wire can work with up to 63 devices on a bus. The number of bus-powered devices you can connect depends on the amount of power available from the computer, and the amount of power required by each device.

Question 6: Does a FireWire device need to be turned on, before it is connected to the FireWire port?

Answer: If the device is designed according to the FireWire standard, then it does not need to be turned on before it is connected to the computer. The computer can tell the difference between a device that is connected and not turned on, and a device that is connected and turned on. In practice, though, most devices profit from being turned on at the time they are connected.

 


Question 7: Can FireWire devices be connected in a daisy chain?

Answer: Yes, and if the devices are designed according to the FireWire standard, they can be turned on and off as needed. For example, all devices don't need to be powered on to use the last device in the chain. For the best result, and to avoid overstressing the FireWire port, connect one FireWire device to the Macintosh, then add one device at a time to the chain. Avoid plugging in live power adapters into devices connected to the chain.

Question 8: What is i.LINK?

Answer: i.LINK is Sony's name for FireWire.

 

 

 

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Published Date: Feb 20, 2012