Jim Lux James.P.Lux at
Wed Feb 28 10:44:35 PST 2001

It comes up occasionally (most recently in the context of the possible
1394/Linux capable playstation 2).

I've had some discussions with one of the vendors of 1394 stuff and here are
some salient points (not in any particular order):
1) The Linux TCP/IP over 1394 is probably not the way to go.  It gets you
basic functionality, but the implementation isn't very efficient or speedy.
Fine if you are connecting to your DSL modem, but not for more intensive
2) 1394 can send small messages very quickly (microsecond latencies)
3) While, normally, 1394 is set up in a quasi bus/tree arrangement, you
don't have to do this.  You can make a dense point to point interconnection
between nodes with lots of 1394 ports.  3 ports is standard, 6 is becoming
quite common in new designs (learning from the USB experience on consumer
gear...)  If you used a hypercube topology, 6 ports gives you 64 nodes
4) The basic programming model is shared memory spaces
5) The way to use 1394 in a beowulf would be to write interface code to the
1394 directly from MPI or a similar package, and not to even fool with TCP,
Sockets, etc.
6) isochronous mode is probably not appropriate

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Eriksson <hpe at>
To: beowulf at <beowulf at>
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 9:09 AM
Subject: FireWire

>Has anyone out there in the community used Firewire to connect your
>cluster-nodes? 400MBit in comparison to the 100MBit of Fast Ethernet
>seems ok as the prize is not too high. Haven't seen any Firewire-
>switches yet though.
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