Future Firewire Applications

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by arn, May 31, 2002.

  1. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    This MacCentral article discusses the advantages of the upcoming Firewire 2 (1394b). Beyond speed, it appears distance of networking will provide new areas for Firewire, including home networking:

    The distance provided by 'b' is critical. Some people feel the distance is the biggest advantage of the new spec because it opens up a whole new set of applications," said Davies. "Not only will this affect home networking but the vehicle backbone as well. The Trade Association has developed a prototype automobile FireWire backbone, but it's next generation."
  2. Wry Cooter macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2002
    What is the advantage in using something like firewire rather than ethernet for networking? I always thought it monumentally silly that Wintel Boxes were building networking apps on the USB ports.

    Bandwidth is Bandwidth, and Storage is Storage, but what sort of data can be shoved that can't be handled by ethernet? And why use a Firewire B port to shove it?

    What are we talking about here, something like Firewire shoving TV to plasma monitors hanging on the wall, or what? Something that is better not sent in packets?
  3. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Jan 22, 2002
    if its 1600 mbit at that range then it would be faster to network like an office using firewire than over gigabit ethernet eh?
  4. big macrumors 65816


    Feb 20, 2002
    Car manufacturer's want to use the newest "plastic fiber optics" in vehicles as a single line from the fuse box to the rear of the vehicle and dash. eliminating multiple lines of wiring. it should prove to be cheaper and easier to work on.

    The lines should handle brake lights, turn signals etcs...and that's just one use. surely firewire b could use something like this, contolling thermostats. & house lights when away etc....
  5. me hate windows macrumors 6502

    me hate windows

    Jan 18, 2002
    Isn't it going to be 800mb/s?

    And Wry Cooter, not all of us have Gigabit Ethernet.:(
  6. cjerens macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2002
    Yes, it is 800 MegaBits. From http://www.ti.com/sc/docs/news/2001/01160.htm: The first instantiation of IEEE 1394b not only doubles the speed of the previous generation of IEEE 1394 devices to 800 megabits-per-second (Mbps), it also increases distances up to 100 meters... "Previously, 1394 could only be connected via copper cabling which was limited to 4.5 meters..." So, it seems that there is really no reason it should be better for networking than gigabit ethernet, which is theoretically 200 Mb/s faster. Correct me if I am wrong :)
  7. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    I don't think we will really see a battle between ethernet and firewire for data networks. Where I do see this going is a single connection method for consumer devices in the home.

    You could connect your computer to your stereo to your TV to your DVD player to your iPod etc. without having more than one wiring set.
  8. cjerens macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2002
    Couldn't you do this with Gigabit ethernet as well? The only problem with it that I can think of is that it would be more expensive.
  9. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    Sure it could be done. I think the biggest problem is the consumer devices are building firewire in - not ethernet. There are other advantages to using firewire for this purpose. I think one of the biggest is firewire is totally plug and play and ethernet is not close to that.
  10. dongmin macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2002
    Firewire is one of the most user-friendly innovations out there and it has so much potential. Yet it's still a fairly obscure technology, outside of the Mac world. I blame Apple partly for this.

    Firewire for home networking has many advantages:

    1. You only need one kind of wiring for both networking between computers and also between non-PC-dependent devices.

    2. Devices can draw power from firewire. So potentially, all you need is a single cable for each device to power up and talk to each other.

    3. You don't need a PC to network devices together.

    4. 1395b will eventually reach 1600 mbps; that's 200 MBps which is pretty amazing.

    And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Firewire 2, or Gigawire, could be the next big thing in home entertainment. But only if Apple and this tradegroup get their act goether and really push Firewire into the consumer electronics market.
  11. Wry Cooter macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2002
    I would think the key word there is "Potentially".. isn't there a practical wattage/amperage limit? Its not like my DV camcorder can play video in to iMovie withOUT a battery.

    So the advantage is for networking appliances such as Tivos etc... and as true local network rather than IP ethernet, that lowers bootlegging concerns such as people putting their IP addressed RePlay on the web for whoever.

    I still maintain that for a computer, better to consider the ethernet port the main computer to computer networking device. I think I would welcome some firewire printers, although I don't think USB is the real bottleneck there.. it still takes time for the engine to image a page.
  12. rastalin94 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2002
    You can not network anything together with just ethernet. That only gets you to layer two of the OSI model what are you going to run over ethernet. Firewire covers all the necessary layers and is a one stop standard for everything. You can also run TCP/IP over firewire. Infact once I purchase a Mac that is how I figured I would network it to my Win 2000 box, that way would be the best price performance thing for networking the two.

    Firewire was not meant to compete with ethernet/TCP/IP/UTP type setup. It is for consumer electronics and small networks. I would love to be able to hook up my TV, VCR, DVD, TIVO, Receiver, to a firewire hub and have everything talk to each other instead of setting up some kind of chained composite-S-Video thing.

    and as far as what I think of USB...

    firewire is to SCSI as USB is to Serial Ports/PS2
  13. Cappy macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2002

    Depending on your topological layout a crossover cable that is extremely cheap would be the best price performance leader as long as you have a 100 mb nic and even then $10 will get you a good one. You also gain length that firewire currently will not get you.

    Once 1394b has been out a good year things will change due to the distance factor and even firewire's inherent ease of use. That will have to be factored in for the home user. Of course with changes I hear happening with ipv6 and all that could negate 1394b's advantages for easy home networking.

    I might agree on the USB comparison but firewire to scsi? Forget it. For what scsi is designed and used for, firewire is not even in the ballpark. You're talking apples and oranges.
  14. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    Die Midi Die

    One use for Firewire should be to trash that archaic connection standard forever. What's the point in midi these days anyway. You could have a sampler or tone module with 32 stereo outputs and 64 midi channels all going down one cable that provides power too if they'd leave the 80's technology where it belongs.

    I'm sure with core midi instead of OMS and some decent firewire audio/midi devices, midi slur and lame timing would be a thing of the past. Also no cabling nightmare to deal with either.
  15. Wry Cooter macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2002
    Re: Die Midi Die

    I'm all for more firewire equipped stuff, especially concerning MIDI, but you will still need a black box converter for legacy instruments, yet still firewire could prevent quite a bit of cabling.

    Also, don't knock OMS despite its corporate ownership entnglements, I'm sure that OS X audio and midi layer is incredibly better than it would be otherwise if it were not for OMS creator Doug Wyatt being on board at Apple.

    Of course, isn't Gibson (who bought Opcode and OMS to trash it basically) trying to come out with an Ethernet spec for instruments to supplant MIDI? The question circles back again... what are the advantages of firewire over ethernet and what is each best suited for?
  16. DaveGee macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2001
    1394b specs - Speed and Distance

    The new version of Firewire-2 (1394b) adds a lot to the mix. Where the old FW would max out a 400Mb/s over STP @ 4.5 meters max (12ish Feet). The new version provieds speeds at up to 1600 Mb/s and (future) 3200 Mb/s over that very same cable type (same distance too). So that explains the speed side of things but distance and cable type have also been added into the mix. CAT5 is now supported (at a slower speed) up to 300ish feet and if you choose to use MMF (glass fiber) you can enjoy those same speeds 1600Mb/s and soon 3200Mb/s for distances of up to 300ish feet (100m).

    Here are the specifics:

    The biggest problem *I* see with the new version is nothing can really make use of the new speeds. HD's seem to be still 'stuck on' using IDE and even with the latest 'bridge boards' IDE just barely maxes out the old 400Mb/s Firewire. Same goes for CDish (cd cdr dvd etc) type drives. Same goes for DVCams. They are all just above or (mostly) under 'todays' FW 400Mb/s spec. I just don't see that changing... So that leaves us with? Well Networking (Mac to Mac) but too bad Mac OS X doesn't support IP over FW (not yet anyway) and that is really strange since Windows does (out of the box I think).

    The speed of the new FW is nice for sure but I don't see anything using it. :(


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