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Firewire vs. Ethernet Networking - Operating System Support

Now that more and more PC's and notebooks are Firewire enabled, it's a good time to take a look at the additional networking functionality it brings to the PC. Can it become a usable alternative to 10/100 Ethernet networking? Today Aaron "FragMan" Clegg takes a peek into the advantages and disadvantages of Firewire networks.

By: | Editorials in Networking | Posted: Jul 12, 2002 4:00 am

Operating System Support


As Firewire supports the WDM driver model, it is supported from Windows 98 Second Edition and above. Inbuilt support for the standard started with Windows Millennium, and it is also fully supported in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. All except Windows 98SE also have inbuilt hot pluggable instant networking. When a Firewire adapter is present in a system, Windows automatically installs a virtual network adapter allowing instant access and modification of standard settings.



As far as protocols go, Firewire networking natively supports TCP/IP connectivity. The Internet Connection Sharing built into Microsoft's operating systems also supports sharing through the Firewire connection. TCP/IP is generally all that is needed for today's modern networks, additional protocol support such as IPX/SPX, NetBEUI and AppleTalk are provided by third party software such as Firenet.


Despite the Win9x support for Firewire networking, it is recommended to use either Windows 2000 or Windows XP due to their superior networking capabilities they take better advantage of the extra speed.


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