Firewire to USB Adapter

When requirement for portability of data cropped up, there also came up the need to use various connecting ports. What are ports? Similar to seaports and airports, computer ports are also used for connectivity. A computer port is nothing but a hardware circuitry used to connect or link one device to another. For portability to really be meaningful, it should be coupled with high speed along with greater capacity. With similar thoughts, when Airbus got its A380 on paper, the computer hardware geeks had introduced the world to an array of high speed bus technologies and serial communication ports. Firewire and universal serial bus (USB) are two connecting ports which got a global recognition and acceptance for their desirable features. But, can we connect a USB portable storage device to a firewire port. Yes! For that we need firewire to USB adapter.

Differentiating Firewire and USB

Firewire, a brand name of Apple computers, is basically an IEEE 1394 interface standard serial bus for high speed data transfer. Firewire ports are mostly used for connection of external devices such as the DV camcorders, hard drives and the 4x DVD writers and burners. The Firewire technology came first in to light as it provides an advantage of high speed data transfer from these devices. A typical firewire hub can support data transfer speeds in three ranges, 100Mbps, 200Mbps or 400Mbps. Apple launched a 800Mbps speed range firewire in the year 2002. A single Firewire port can simultaneously connect a max of 63 devices and can deliver a guaranteed speed to each device.

Universal serial bus (USB), developed in 1996, is basically a specification designed to set up connection of devices to a host controller, which in most cases is a personal computer. A USB hub can connect more devices than Firewire (up to 127), but data transfer speed can only max up to 12Mbps in the USB 1.0 standard. The USB 2.0 standard, however, can offer speeds up to 480Mbps, which makes it more than a match to the Firewire. On 17 November 2008, USB 3.0 standard was launched which has a data transfer speed almost 10 times the USB 2.0 speed. The low to medium band width of USB makes it well suited for connecting keyboards, mouse and other input devices. It gave the working of peripherals a tremendous advantage of speed. Read more on Firewire vs USB.

What is Firewire to USB Adapter?

Any port converting adapter should basically have a female terminal on one end and a male terminal on the other. These days most computers worldwide come equipped with a large number of female USB connector so as to connect external USB devices, which are equipped with male ports. So, in order to connect devices with male Firewire ports to the computer, we need an adapter with male USB on one end and female Firewire on the other. In other words this port connects USB female to firewire male. This type of firewire to USB 2.0 adapter is easily available in the market these days. This is the most widely used and circulated firewire to USB adapter cable, which is also known as firewire 400 to usb adapter. The price of general pin firewire to USB adapter device ranges from $2 to $6 a piece and are available as small handy units or equipped with extending chords.

The other type of Firewire to USB adapter  is the exact reverse of the one stated above, but it is rarely used and these days it is manufactured only on order. This type of adapter would be used to connect a USB device to a host machine with Firewire port. You would rarely find a host machine with Firewire ports and no USB ports and so it would be even difficult to comment about their availability and pricing.

However, the trend these days has taken a turn. Instead of using firewire to usb adapter for laptops and desktops, the host machines are being loaded with dual Firewire and USB hubs. This is a connecting card type device which has two ports on a single hub. The hub may be interfaced with the host machine either externally or internally. One port is used for Firewire compatible devices while the other one for USB devices, thereby allowing either type of devices to be connected with the machine. Here, two separate ports are combined on to a single printed circuit board (PCB) for convenience of the user. In such hubs, there is no conversion taking place between Firewire and USB while using one or both of these ports. These combo hubs have gained significance as it is convenient for the user rather than connecting any external adapter.

Read more on:
  • USB Flash Drive Recovery
  • USB Network Hub
  • USB External Hard Drive for Smart USB Storage
Though Firewire to USB adapters are here to stay, the two port hubs are giving the adapters a run for their money. For users too, when it becomes necessary to make use of both technologies simultaneously, these combo hubs are proving more advantageous.

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