Connecting a Real-Time Target to a Wireless Network

Updated Dec 18, 2017

Issue Details

I want to connect my CompactRIO controller (or any real-time target) to a wireless network. What are the considerations for doing this?


CompactRIO is designed to easily integrate with standard networking technologies. No hardware modifications are required to connect a CompactRIO controller to a wireless network. The advantage of connecting a CompactRIO system to a wireless network, is that it gives you the freedom to place the CompactRIO practically anywhere without the need of a long ethernet cable running from a router.
Connecting a CompactRIO Controller to a Wireless Network

Follow the steps outlined below:
  1. Configure the wireless router by following the instructions provided by the wireless router vendor. If you already know your CompactRIO's IP address skip to step 4.
  2. Connect the host computer to the network. (The host computer is required to configure the CompactRIO controller's IP address for the first time) 
  3. Configure the CompactRIO controller by first setting up a unique IP address from the host computer.
    1. For this step, connect the CompactRIO to the network via ethernet cable.
    2. Open Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX) on the host PC and select the CompactRIO controller under Devices and Interfaces>>Remote Systems, which should be automatically recognized by the network. 
    3. After an IP has been assigned, disconnect the CompactRIO from the network by removing the ethernet cable.
  4. Next, the wireless ethernet adapter must be assigned to an unique IP address. Follow the instructions provided by the wireless ethernet adapter vendor to assign an IP address (it may be assigned automatically, or you may need to use the host computer to do this).
  5. After both the CompactRIO and the wireless ethernet adapter each have their own IP address, connect the two together by using a standard ethernet cable.
  6. Verify that the CompactRIO is communicating properly by going to Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX) and checking for the device under Devices and Interfaces>>Remote Systems. It should appear with the same IP address that was assigned above (step 2). However, this time it won't be physically connected to the network, but instead  through the wireless ethernet adapter.
If you run into problems finding your CompactRIO in MAX please follow this KB: Why Does My Networked Device Not Show Up in Measurement and Automation Explorer?

Additional Information

Required Network Equipment

In order to provide your Ethernet-equipped CompactRIO with instant wireless networking capabilities, you will need the following network equipment:
  1. Wireless Router
  2. Wireless Ethernet Adapter
When purchasing an ethernet router and adapter, you may choose any ethernet networking standard you wish. The CompactRIO controller uses a standard 10/100 ethernet port. If speed is a consideration, purchasing equipment that utilizes the 802.11ac standard is recommended over 802.11g or 802.11b because it provides you with networking speeds nearly eight times faster than that of 802.11g and is backward-compatible (see  Table 1 for communications rates): 
Table 1. Communication Rates for Different Network Protocols
Network ProtocolCommunication Rate
10Base-T10 Mbps
100Base-T100 Mbps
802.11b11 Mbps
802.11g54 Mbps
802.11ac433 Mbps
Note: Mbps stands for millions of bits per second and is a measure of bandwidth (the total information flow over a given time) on a telecommunications medium.


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