Despite the raw performance of eSATA and the ubiquity of USB, the IEEE 1394 standard (a.k.a. FireWire or i.Link) still has a strong following among users of devices like digital camcorders. And it's about to get a good deal faster. TG Daily reports that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has approved a new FireWire specification that will quadruple transfer speeds.
Today's fastest FireWire implementations are still based on the 2002 standard, which runs at up to 800Mbps (100MB/s). The IEEE 1394-2008 specification will allow connections with top speeds of either 1.6Gbps (200MB/s) or 3.2Gbps (400MB/s). Best of all, the new spec will reportedly maintain backwards compatibility with current FireWire cables and ports.
TG Daily quotes the IEEE as saying 200-400MB/s FireWire devices should start materializing in October. The latest iteration of FireWire will probably compete with the upcoming USB 3.0 standard, which will offer theoretical maximum bandwidth up to 4.8Gbps (600MB/s). USB 2.0 doesn't compare favorably to 400Mbps FireWire despite its higher maximum speed, however, so USB 3.0 won't necessarily be quicker than the new FireWire.