In recent years, technology has come a long way as far as usability and convenience goes. Just 10 years ago it was unfathomable that the new technology of the USB port would be able to support transfer speeds fast enough to be able to plug in a large harddrive to your computer in literally seconds and have it function as storage space. However, none of this could have happened without the trail blazing standard set by the Firewire IEEE-1394 (from now on I will refer to the specification simply as “IEEE-1394) specification created in the year 1995. IEEE-1394 was an interface designed to replace the old SCSI ports of the time, that attempted to allow ease of use for computer products much in the way that IEEE-1394 and USB would later do. However at the time of the introduction of IEEE-1394, SCSI was becoming quickly outdated. The IEEE-1394 ports were considerably smaller than the comparable SCSI ports of the time and used data as what is known as a “serial bus”, it transfers data one bit at a time.
IEEE-1394 was also trailblazing at the time as it allowed peer-to-peer connections between devices connected on a computer without using any precious resources from the computer’s CPU or RAM. The original release of the IEEE-1394 specification supported data transfer rates at 100, 200, and 400 mbits and supported a wide variety of operating systems. These are actually quite comparable speeds to what the newer USB 2.0 technology supports Simply, the only thing that the new technology of USB has over the legacy technology of the IEEE-1394 specification is that of ease of use. The IEEE-1394 technology was a great leap forward at the time and it has paved the way for computers being overall more functional and easy to use since it’s release. The 1394 Trade Association provides many more interesting details on the specification, which you can view here http://www.1394ta.org/index.html.