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Apple Bringing IP Networking to FireWire

Preview release adds HTTP, FTP, AFP to FireWire networks By Dave Nagel
Apple has released a new software package that allows for traditional networking over a FireWire connection. The software is a preview release, available now for Mac OS X 10.2.5.

All desktop Macs and PowerBooks have built-in gigabit Ethernet, which allows for more than twice the networking speed of standard FireWire 400. However, gigabit Ethernet switches are still well out of the price range of many users, who often fall back on 100 Mbps switches or hubs instead when networking more than two computers. (Gigabit switches start about $500, compared with a starting price of about $25 for a 10/100 switch.) Now, with FireWire 400 and Apple's new Apple IP over FireWire software, users can achieve networking speeds of 400 Mbps, theoretically quadrupling networking speeds over common Ethernet configurations. And FireWire a hub, if needed, starts around $35.

This new technology is currently in a preview release for developers. It adds a new Kernel Extension that, according to Apple, "hooks into the existing network services architecture. Using the existing Network Preferences Pane, users can add FireWire as their IP network node to connect and communicate between two machines."

Apple says the IP over FireWire Preview Release adds support for AFP, HTTP, FTP, SSH and other protocols supported over IP networks. And, the company adds, "In all cases, Rendezvous can be used if desired for configuration, name resolution, and discovery."

Apple has not set a release date for full functionality of this technology. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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