How FireWire Works

By: Jeff Tyson & Julia Layton

FireWire vs. USB

The key difference between FireWire and USB is that FireWire is intended for devices working with a lot more data -- things like camcorders, DVD players and digital audio equipment. FireWire and USB share a number of characteristics but differ in some important ways.

Implementing FireWire costs a little more than USB, which led to the adoption of USB as the standard for connecting most peripherals that do not require a high-speed bus.


Speed aside, the big difference between FireWire and USB 2.0 is that USB 2.0 is host-based, meaning that devices must connect to a computer in order to communicate. FireWire is peer-to-peer, meaning that two FireWire cameras can talk to each other without going through a computer.

Now let's get back to the implementation of FireWire. How do you connect?