The new electrical specification, known as S3200, builds upon the IEEE 1394b standard, preserving all the advantages of FireWire while offering a major and unprecedented boost in performance. The new speed uses the cables and connectors already deployed for FireWire 800 products, making the transition forward easy and convenient for 1394 product vendors and their customers. Because the 1394 arbitration, data, and service protocols were not modified for S3200, silicon and software vendors can deploy the faster speed FireWire quickly and with confidence that it will deliver its full potential performance. The S3200 specification is expected to be ratified by early February.
"The S3200 standard will sustain the position of IEEE 1394 as the absolute performance leader in multi-purpose I/O ports for consumer applications in computer and CE devices," said James Snider, executive director, 1394 Trade Association. "There is a very clear migration path from 800 Megabits/second to 3.2 Gigabits/second, with no need for modifications to the standard and no requirement for new cables or connectors."