Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

What's this 1394 network adapter on my machine?

I’m running a Gateway GT 4016 computer running XP service pack 2, from the
start button I can push “network connections” and I see 2 network connections.
I have one labeled Nile which I run my 2 machine home network on, the other is
labeled 1394 network adapter. The one labeled Nile, runs at 100 Mbps, the one
labeled 1394, runs that 400 Mbps. The Nile connection seems to be run by nVidia
nforce drivers, and the 1394 connection seems to be run by Microsoft with VIA
OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller drivers. Why do I have a two
connectors and the slowest one seems to be the only one that I can run my home
network on. Is it possible to use the other, faster network?

I have the same connection, and no, I’m not aware of an easy way to use it for
networking. It’s possible, but in practice, that’s not why
it’s there at all.

You might know 1394 by another name: Firewire.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

IEEE 1394 is the industry standard for a an external data connection also
known as “Firewire” (trademarked by Apple), i.Link and a few other marketing
monikers.

They all boil down to the same thing: a high speed external interface for
data transfer.

Since you’re seeing 1394 in your network connections, chances are you have
one or more 1394 ports on your machine. They’re easy to identify by their
distinctively shaped socket. Here’s a picture of the side of my MacBook Pro
that shows the three common interfaces side-by-side:

USB, IEEE 1394 and Ethernet sockets

Naturally the placement on your own machine might be quite different.

USB and 1394 are sometimes considered “rival” interfaces, since they do many
of the same things. 1394 has a slight advantage in popularity for streaming
media – if your video camera has a digital interface, chances are it’s 1394.
USB has an advantage for random peripherals like mice, keyboards and the ever
popular USB FlashDrive. And both 1394 and USB are often used for external hard
disk drives.

“Since you’re seeing 1394 in your network connections,
chances are you have one or more 1394 ports on your machine.”

So why does 1394 show up as a networking interface?

It is possible to use a 1394 interface for limited networking. You can, for
example, use 1394 to create machine-to-machine network. Naturally, both
machines must have the 1394 hardware interface and the appropriate 1394 cable
must be used to connect them. Much like networking with a single ethernet
cable, I’d expect additional protocols might be required, or additional
configuration steps needed in the TCP/IP configuration (since IP addresses
would have to be assigned manually.)

But, in all honesty, that’s not what 1394 was really designed for. While it
might be possible, I wouldn’t recommend it, as you won’t find a lot of how-to
information.

And you certainly cannot use your IEEE 1394 interface to connect to an
existing ethernet based network. At least, not without some kind of adapter
hardware, and I’m not sure that hardware even exists.

And lastly, rumor has it that 1394 networking ability has been removed from
Windows Vista.

My recommendation is to use the interfaces for what they’re best at and most
commonly used for: USB for peripherals, 1394 for video cameras and perhaps
external hard drives, and ethernet for networking. You’ll get the best results,
and the best support for your efforts, by following those common paths.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips with a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my FREE special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

No strings. No email. Here's the direct download. (Just right-click and "Save As...".)

18 comments on “What's this 1394 network adapter on my machine?”

  1. I have an older Sony Vaio Laptop that doesn’t have an ethernet port but does have a 1394/firewire port so I use that to network it with my HP that also has the 1394 port. Also note that Leo’s picture shows the bigger version of the 1394 port. There’s a smaller version that most digital video cameras have (at least the older ones) as well as my two laptops (mentioned above).

    Reply
  2. I differ. On a default XP installation, conecting two computers with Firewire(1394) is as simple as pluging the cable on both. The resulting connection is several times faster than a Ethernet conection (4x at least) which makes it ideal to transfer lots of information.
    I tried as a last resort the last time I upgraded laptops and was ashamed that I hadn’t paid any attention to it before.

    Reply
  3. MY problem is click on tools then internet options a small box opens but just for a blink of an eye it will not open for my settings, I then saw in connections 1349 connection I’m sure it wasn’t there before could it have gotten there when I downloaded Live TV.could this have altered my settings Thanking you on reply.

    Yours Sincerely T.Ritchie

    Reply
  4. I have a sony Viao vgc-44rb desk top running window xp svcs pk2. I am a computer idiot so I need an answer a 3 year old could understand.My 1394 shows connected @ 400 but I can’t get online.It pops up that my tcp/ip are not configured for this device and the driver is missing for it.Sony has lots of drivers on it’s site but I have not a clue what I am looking for.Help!

    Reply
  5. I have a newly built computer. The LAN was there and it was connected to the internet. A week or so ago I had to change the power supply and the LAN has disappeared but the 1394 connecrion is still there. How can I recover the LAN in my computer? I am running windows XP

    Reply
  6. Chriss Miller – its most likely the current power supply is not sending enough power to your motherboard. Try disconnecting a CDrom drive and see if that helps. If not get a higher voltage power supply.

    Reply
  7. i have lan working in my site with help switch & also broadband connection is also attached one of PC in LAN system i have to give broadband connection only one more PC which have 1394 net adapter in LAN how can i set it? it any 1394 net adptor cable is required for this

    Reply
  8. You can NW USB/USB & FW/FW, but anyone know if &/or tried to connect using USB/FW P2P? Might it perhaps be done with a prefab cable such as those typically used to connect digital cameras and external media? I am sorely tempted to fab up a couple DT carcasses & see if anything sticks or maybe smokes.

    Reply
  9. It is not my comment, but I really need your help.

    I want to connect 1394 adapter to my external HDD, but I don’t know how to. I have tried direct connection but computer does not recognized the device.

    Thank’s and very appreciated for your help.
    Tommy.

    Reply
  10. I haveHP laptop having 1394 network adpater .i am npt able to use internet on my laptop..neither the wifi is working nor the broad band connection ..pls suggest me ..

    Reply
  11. I lost my 1. Audio Device on High Definition Audio Bus, Ethernet Controller and Video Contoller (VGA Compatible) when I had to reinstall Windows XP.

    Please help………

    Reply
  12. This 1394 network adapter just showed up overnight. Is it possible for something like that to happen? If so, how? I know that it wasn’t there last night when I went to bed and I’m really, really an amatuer at this sort of thing.

    If you have Windows Update turned on (as you should), it’s likely the result of a driver update. 1394 is a FireWire connection – similar to USB, but most commonly used for video camera connections and has a different shaped connector.

    Leo
    31-Mar-2010

    Reply
  13. I thought the 1394 adapter was for telephone dial up Internet? That is what I have used it for. Since it has a standard telephone connector, how else would you connect to the Internet on dial up?
    It worked for me for years. BTW, I think the 400Mbps is a max rating which most will never get close.

    If it’s a standard phone connector, then that’s not the 1394 interface. Smile

    Leo
    18-Oct-2010

    Reply
  14. Installed XP64 for more memory use.
    I can’t get the internet on. Ethernet cable good, blue and green leds are on, but via 1394 no connection. With XP it was always good. I see 400mbs working but no packages are send. How to solve? HP WX9300

    Reply
  15. I agree with you Leo, on what you think about the 1394 fire wire connection, just leave it for what it should be used for and think that is a good idea, so you summed it all up for me and wanted to use it for internet connection but it has no configuration like isp address or anything it running but will not connect to internet but connects to both my computers so will use it for what it was meant to be used for and hook me up a external hard drive or some other kind of storage device, good idea, Leo. TY

    Reply
  16. Hello Leo Thanks.. my scenario when I was installing Win server 2003 in Sony laptop for training purposes.. I understood that I’ll be missing a lot of drivers since MS and hardware maker didn’t target the device to hold server applications.. but still still the 1394 net adapter was showing even though I didn’t have that adapter while at the same time I wasn’t able to connect.. I had to use generic network drivers from intel chip maker to enable my connection though still 1394 card shows.. other wise man you are doing great job in here.

    Reply
  17. THANK YOU sooooo MUCH! the icon popped up recently – and i could NOT for the life of me figure out what the heck was going on on my internet connectivity/network! phew!

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.