How to Run Long Lengths of FireWire Cable
LockerGnome reader Mike asks:
“Are there any secrets to running long lengths of FireWire cable?
Currently, the maximum reliable distance of a single FireWire cable is 15 feet (4.5 meters). Though some retailers carry 10 meter cables, these tend to be unreliable and sketchy at best. I’d recommend using a FireWire hub or repeater to accomplish this task. Using this, you can connect a 4.5 meter FireWire cable to the hub, and another 4.5 meter cable to the other end creating a solid reliable 9 meter connection.
Belkin makes a decent 6-port hub for this in case you want to hook up multiple devices without having to find a separate repeater for each device. The hub acts as a power source for these devices as well, reducing the chance of an issue from an overloaded FireWire port.
FireWire 6-Port Hub
For extremely long distances, you might want to consider a FireWire CAT5 repeater. This kind of repeater uses two separate devices that connect to each other through CAT 5 or 6 cable with ports on either end for a FireWire connection. Your device connects to one of the transceivers which connects to the other through the CAT 5 or 6 cable, and then to your machine using a final FireWire connection. These solutions can come with a price, but if you need to cover serious ground, it may be a worthwhile solution.