Friday, August 1, 2008

FireWire Interface to Get Speed Boost

Universal Serial Bus 3.0 is just around the cornet, but it does not mean that its brother IEEE 1394 standard (also known as FireWire and iLink) has ceased its development. In fact, this month the 1394 trade association said that it had ratified the 1394-2008 specification, which significantly improves bandwidth of the interconnect.

The 1394-2008 high performance serial bus standard updates and revises all prior 1394 standards dating back to the original 1394-1995 version, and including 1394a, 1394b, 1394c, enhanced UTP, and the 1394 beta plus PHY-Link interface. It also incorporates the complete specifications for S1600 version with 1.6Gb/s bandwidth) and for S3200 version, which provides 3.2Gb/s speed.

“The consolidated 1394-2008 specification effectively allows one single document to serve all. It provides one consistent document that provides everything a designer or developer needs in order to work with 1394 in any application. We assembled an experienced team of experts from consumer electronics, computer, and semiconductor companies who have worked diligently to complete this task on time,” said said Les Baxter, 1394 Trade Association leader and director of Baxter Enterprises, who supervised the process.

The team dealt with errata remaining from prior specifications, and harmonized all message types, including fields that had been used in related specifications such as the 1394.1 bridging specification, and IDB-1394, which was developed as the original automotive entertainment standard. Not incorporated is work currently underway within the 1394 Trade Association working groups, including 1394 over coax and the new 1394-Automotive specification due later this summer.

Members of the revision team who worked with Baxter include companies like Apple, Congruent Technologies, LSI, Oxford Semiconductor, Quantum Parametrics, Symwave and Texas Instruments.

The official date of issue for 1394-2008 is June 12; IEEE and 1394 Trade Association copy editors will review the document over the summer and finalize it by mid-October or sooner.

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