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Coax making a comeback?

Kevin C. Tofel

Call it FireWire or call it IEEE-1394, but whatever name you use will describe what may bring the lowly coaxial cable back into the fold. That's right, coax could leap ahead of all of the other audio and video connections out there: component, composite, S-Video, DVI and even HDMI! How is this possible you ask? It turns out that a task group was just formed by the 1394 Trade Association (not to be confused with The Trade Federation, who were puppets controlled by an evil Sith Lord.).

The task of the group is to create a simple "native 1394 over coax specification" in early 2006. This could mean FireWire speeds over regular coax cable, paving the way for bandwidth of up to 800 Megabits per second (Mbps). For comparison, an HDTV digital transmission can use up to 19.2 Mbps, meaning that a cable operator could theoretically pump 40 full HDTV channels on a single cable. Seems like a good use for all of the coax laid down over the past 25 years, no?


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