TCP/IP no longer supported over Firewire/IEEE 1394 in Vista

TCP/IP is no longer supported over Firewire/IEEE 1394 in Vista.

Most admins who have Windows XP running on a computer with a Firewire/IEEE 1394 connector have seen the "1394 Networking" icon in the Network Connections folder.

If you have the proper cabling, you can create a point-to-point network between two computers with the 1394 bus—one that runs somewhat faster than a conventional 100Mbit Ethernet connection. I've used 1394 networking to shuttle files quickly from one machine to another when I didn't want to tie up the main switch or router in my house.

When Windows Vista appeared, I noticed that 1394 networking was no longer available. I thought that maybe it was something that was only available on demand from this point on, and not installed by default.

Unfortunately, a little digging turned up a less palatable truth: that in future versions of Windows, Microsoft plans to

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discontinue support for IP over 1394 (that is, TCP/IP over IEEE 1394).

Currently, this capability is supported in Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and Windows Me. Microsoft has not identified any customer dependency on this capability. If you're a hardware OEM whose business depends on this capability, you can provide feedback to netdd@microsoft.com.

So much for Firewire networking, then. But there are two consolations:

  • Gigabit Ethernet is a far more commonplace option for network devices than it was when Windows XP was released. Also, many gigabit networking devices now work with regular (non-crossover) cables for ad hoc point-to-point networking without needing any intervening hardware.
  • Ditto for USB 2.0 networking devices, which can easily run at gigabit Ethernet speeds as well.

As for myself, I now rely on 1394 networking less and less. It is easier to use an existing network connection (even if it is slower) than to contrive a peer-to-peer 1394 connection. I also suspect the relatively small amount of outboard 1394 hardware that weren't cameras or scanners played a part in its lack of acceptance as a networking bus.

About the author:
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the  Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

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This was first published in March 2007

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