Difference between NI OPC Servers and EtherNet IP Driver

Updated Oct 12, 2022

Reported In


  • OPC Servers

Issue Details

Which software package will work best for communicating to my PLCs and what are the differences?


The EtherNet IP driver comes with additional grouping of functions, or API, outside of the basic LabVIEW libraries that specifically target communication over EtherNet, which encompasses many PLC's.

The NI OPC Server however is a separate piece of software that we utilize alongside LabVIEW to establish communication to multiple devices. With this method users will have to create a client/server pairing and monitor/control the PLC data through the Sever instead of a direct link through LabVIEW.

Additional Information

Generally, NI OPC Servers are utilized when dealing with a large number of PLC's, or if you're utilizing PLC's that are using different protocols. This method is widely scalable and can include multiple PLC's that are not using the same protocol.

Although the EtherNet IP driver could still technically monitor multiple PLC's, even if they included multiple protocols, but you would have to repeat sections of code (aka creating multiple connection instances) and/or create different segments of code for each different protocol your PLC's are utilizing.

Either of these packages will allow you to communicate to a wide range of PLC's, but it ultimately comes down to how you want to implement your design.

To view the supported PLC's please view compatibility page listed below.