August 1, 2008 Since its introduction in 1995, IEEE 1394 (better known as FireWire, Apple's name for the interface) has become the go-to interface for high-bandwidth applications like professional audio and video production. The IEEE has approved the IEEE 1394-2008 specification, adding support for bandwidth up to 3.2Gbps.
Also known as S3200, the new specification supports bandwidth up to 3.2 Gbps (a four-fold increase over the speed of FireWire 800) in order to support the increasing bandwidth demands of multiple, chained devices like hard-drives or DSP processors. The specification is fully backwards-compatible with every prior FireWire specification, and uses the same connector as the current FireWire 800 spec.
"The new standard includes all of the amendments, enhancements and more than 100 errata which have been added to the base standard over the last 12 years," said Les Baxter, chair of the working group which developed the standard. "This update provides developers with a single document they can rely upon for all of their application needs."
Intel is expected to finalize their USB 3.0 specification shortly, with a target throughput of 4.8 Gbps - however much like the prior USB specifications, it will rely on the CPU to control the flow of data to and from all connected peripherals. This will result in a sustained throughput of far less than the theoretical 4.8 Gbps, and FireWire's dominance in high-bandwidth applications unchallenged.