updated 05:45 pm EDT, Mon May 21, 2001
The 1394 Trade Association has introduced the new 1394b specification, an updated version of the multimedia bus standard commonly known to Mac users as FireWire. 1394b provides significant bandwidth, speed, distance, and cost-efficiency improvements over the original IEEE 1394-1995 specification. The specification supports audio and video transfer at speeds ranging from 1.6 to 3.2 Gigabits per second on plastic optical fiber, and up to 3.2 Gigabits per second on glass optical fiber. Costs of products using the new specification are expected to be lower than those using the early versions, and the new specification retains backwards compatibility. The proposed 1394b specification is now in circulation for approval by members of the 'b' Committee.