What is a FireWire® Port?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

FireWire® ports are forms of a serial port that make use of FireWire® technology to transfer data rapidly from one electronic device to another. This device has been in common use since 1995, when Apple, Inc. first began to include the port on a number of digital camcorders. Today, it is used on a number of other devices.

A FireWire® port.
A FireWire® port.

As a multi-platform serial bus, the FireWire® port has the ability to interact with a number of different devices. For example, a FireWire® connection can provide an ideal way to connect a scanner to a computer system. Because the transfer rate of the port can reach up to 400 Mbps, the data transfer is relatively fast and also results in excellent quality.

A similar approach is taken when uploading captured images from a digital camera to a computer hard drive. Use of a FireWire® port can mean images that are free of an loss of quality, and are excellent candidates for print after the download is complete. Once the images are uploaded, the storage drive on the camera can be cleared, making the camera ready for more use.

However, the FireWire® port is not just for establishing a connection between various electronic devices and a computer system. In fact, FireWire® connections can be created directly between two independent devices. Today, there are small printers manufactured for direct use with a digital camera. Making use of a FireWire® port to establish a connection, the original file on the digital camera can be printed out on the printer. This completely eliminates the need for uploading photos to a hard drive and then initiating a printing process.

The FireWire® port is so common today that most consumers do not give the port a second thought. While very similar to the USB 2.0 port, it does offer an enhanced transfer rate between devices. This often makes the use of this type of port more desirable with hand held devices, as well as devices where temporary rather than permanent storage is the main focus. However, it should be noted that many businesses today utilize independent storage devices that are equipped with a FireWire® port. This is because the process of uploading or accessing archived files and other data is much quicker when using this type of port.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


A firewire is an input device and an output device.


Firewire technology is great. the 6 pin port stinks. in my establishment over six pieces of equipment have had the firewire input burned simply because it is possible to insert the cable wrongly into the port. i shudder to think how many others have suffered the same fate. It costs approx $350 to repair. that stinks!


I have a canon camcorder that demands firewire transfer to a computer but my computer does not support firewire. If I record directly to dvd with an a/v cable, will editing software be able to convert from the dvd for me to edit? And how will that quality of image suffer compared to going directly via firewire to a computer?


how do you connect firewire with 63 devices?


what is the distance limitation for Firewire ?


If my computer is equipped with firewire but my digital camcorder is USB, will they communicate?


FireWire is also known as IEEE1394. FireWire is just the brand name for it. It does look a lot like a USB interface, but two of the corners of the FireWire port are kind of nipped in.

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