What to Look for when Buying a Firewire Repeater

A firewire repeater extends the transmission distance from your computer to you firewire devices. When Apple introduced the firewire in 1995 it was refer to as the IEEE 1394 interface. Sony’s version is referred to as i.Link and Texas Instrument has Lynx. This serial bus interface standard connects high-definition audio equipment with your computer.  A firewire repeater repeats the firewire signal and increases the distance from the source. There are several firewire repeaters available. There are some things you need to consider when purchasing a firewire repeater

Compatible Repeater

A repeater was originally designed to transmit telegraphs. The technology has come a long way, however all repeaters are protocol specific. Cell phone towers are repeaters for RF transmission at 800 to 900 MHz. You wouldn’t expect a cell phone tower to transmit your high definition video transmissions. Firewire is very specific technology compatible only with Firewall devices. Do not expect to use any other type of repeater and have it work with firewall devices.

Data transfer Rate

Minimum transfer speed should be 100/200/400/800 Mbps.


How many devices do you plan to connect to the firewire repeater? Firewire Repeaters come with varying port configurations. Determine how many firewire devices you will use at one time. You may not need a 5 hub firewire repeater if you will never have more than 3 devices operating at one time.

Power Supply

Most times a power supply for any firewire device is an optional but necessary piece of equipment. Firewire devices that require firewire bus power can be powered by the firewire repeater when the repeater has a power supply.


Prior to purchasing a firewire repeater determine the distance you require the repeater to perform. Firewire repeaters can cover a distance of 15 feet to more than 3000 feet.  You may also need firewire cables, video converters, host adapters or PC bus to firewall adapters. Fiber optic cable is a good choice for long distance reception.

Device Capability

Make sure you purchase a repeater that is compatible with your devices. The standard 9 pin port can generally be changed using cables. Most firewire repeaters works with PC and Mac.


Choose the right MBPS for your data transfer rate. 400 MBPS should be the slowest acceptable rate.

Ethernet Connect Vs Fiber Optic Connection

Determine what you really want the repeater to accomplish. No need to spend money for technology you will never use. As an example: A 400mbps Cat 5.2 (Ethernet) firewire repeater will transfer data at 400mbps and up to approximate 210 feet. A 400mbps Optical repeater (fiber optics) will transfer data at 400mbps and up to approximately 1000m or over 3200 feet. A fiber Optic firewire repeater is more than double the cost of an Ethernet firewire repeater.

Multiply Firewire Repeater

Many times it is more economical to “stack” repeaters to extend the distance of one repeater. You can "daisy chain" several repeaters every 33 feet. This may be helpful if you have several uses for the repeaters.