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The different types of FireWire® 800 adapters are hubs, cables, cards, and pen drive-style adapters. These adapters can be used to connect a universal serial bus (USB) cable to a FireWire® 800 port or a FireWire® 400 cable to an 800 port. Adapters are required because different connectors have different shapes and therefore cannot be used interchangeably. Each different type of adapter performs the same basic function, enabling different connections to be used with a FireWire® 800 port, or devices with 800 cables to be used with different ports. FireWire® is a type of connection similar to USB but generally used for devices that require high speed data transfer.
Cables are one of many types of FireWire® 800 adapters. The cable has one end that connects to a FireWire® 800 port and another that connects to an older FireWire® or USB device. The cable is used to connect a device which uses a different type of connection to a FireWire® 800 port or vice versa. Cable adapters replace the original cable which came with the device.
Hubs are another group of FireWire® 800 adapters. These usually have multiple ports and a FireWire® 800 connection for the user’s computer. The 800 megabytes per second (mbps) connection speed provided by the FireWire® 800 connection can only be achieved if the source device uses that same connection. Most hubs include input ports for USB connections and both FireWire® 400 and 800 connections. Some also allow the user to connect multiple devices using the same type of connection to a single port on the computer.
Pen drive-style FireWire® 800 adapters are compact connectors with an 800 jack to insert into the user’s computer and a different port for the device to connect to. This type of adapter can have a USB or FireWire® 400 insertion port. These adapters allow the user to make use of the cable which came with the device. The maximum connection speed is determined by the speed of the connection inserted into the adapter.
Cards are another group of FireWire® 800 adapters which connect directly into the network card slot on laptops or the motherboard on desktop computers. These provide the user’s computer with a variety of different ports. Most card-style adapters include both FireWire® 800 and 400 ports, and some also can be used with USB connections. These are unusual types of FireWire® 800 adapters, because they actually provide the computer with additional direct connectivity options. Most other adapters change one type of connection into another type.