FireWire products use an interface standard developed by Apple Computer and adopted by the IEEE for very fast digital data transfers. FireWire, a registered trademark of Apple Computer, is a communications protocol for the transmission of data, video, and audio over a single cable at very high bit rates. FireWire data transfer speeds include 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, and 400 Mbps. IEEE 1394 is the interface standard adopted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for digital data transfers at 400 Mbps. The popularity of this standard is due in part to its use of a bus-powered architecture that does not require peripherals to supply their own power. FireWire products that support the IEEE 1394 standard adhere to its specifications, but often use proprietary trade names. For example, Apple uses the term FireWire and Sony uses the registered trademark iLink .
There are many different types of FireWire products. Choices include host controllers, adapters, and interfaces; computer hard drives; RAID systems; and hubs. FireWire host controllers, adapters, and interfaces are computer boards that translate data from an IEEE 1394 bus to another bus, and vice versa. These FireWire products are used to connect two incompatible buses. FireWire hard drives store data in a computer. FireWire RAID systems use a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) and software correction techniques to withstand the failure of a single disk. FireWire hubs permit the connection of FireWire devices through a common terminal instead of in a daisy chain.
FireWire products such as FireWire CD-ROM drives, FireWire card readers, and FireWire card writers are also commonly available. Compact disk read-only memory (CD-ROM) is a type of optical disk that is used to store large amounts of data. FireWire readers and FireWire writers are modules that allow a user to transfer data to and from a host computer with a FireWire card. The reader / writer is a carrier that connects to the host computer through a port or bus. Like other FireWire products, these devices may be compatible with Apple Macintosh computer or with Windows -based computers. Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft.