FireWire is a type of connecting device that is VERY similar to USB ports! It serves as an alternative to USB, to parallel and serial ports, and to SCSI. FireWire lets you connect up to 63 additional devices to your computer! This is one of the few major differences between FireWire and USB. USB lets you connect 127 peripherals, while FireWire only lets you hook up 63 additional devices. Another difference is that FireWire is faster than USB. It can transport data at up to 200 megabits per second, compared to USB's 12 megabits per second. Unlike USB, FireWire was specifically designed to hook up devices that use up LOTS of data, like digital cameras and DVD players.
Like USB, FireWire has a connector located on the back panel of your computer (which acts as a host to the FireWire bus) that lets you connect to all sorts of peripherals. When you first turn your computer on, the computer checks the FireWire bus to see what devices are connected. Then, it assigns each device a special address.
FireWire is Plug and Play. This means that when you first connect a device to your computer via the FireWire bus, your computer will automatically detect it. In addition, FireWire has the capability of hot-plug. This means that you can connect and disconnect devices to the FireWire bus any time you want!
FireWire devices can be connected to the FireWire connector at the back of your computer by cables. These cables consist of six wires. Two of these wires are to provide power for those FireWire devices that don't have their own power supply, like mice and keyboards. The other four wires are in groups of two. The two wires in each group are twisted together. These wires are used to transport data.
FireWire can transfer data in two different ways:
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