Connectivity - the basics
The term connectivity refers to how a digital camera is connected to your PC or printer for image transfer or remote control of your camera. Over time connection speeds for image transfer have come a long way. From very slow RS232 (serial) connections> in the nineties (230 Kbits/sec) to USB 1.1 connectivity and Firewire in the 21st century. The standard platform now is USB 2.0, which offers transfer speeds of up to 480Mbits/second in its Hi-Speed version.
A distinct advantage of USB and Firewire is that they offer "hot swappable" connectivity, which means you don't have to switch off your computer or camera before making a connection between the two. After installation, your camera can be assessed as a separate drive and the images opened as if they were files on your PC or Mac.
The latest trends are Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, which eliminate the need for cables and offer wireless shooting, image transfer or printing to compatible machines. You can even connect to a cellular network and share photos, just as you would with a camera phone. Transfer speeds continue to rise as we speak and speeds of up to 1Gbits/sec should be possible within a few years time.