I know the NI 9144 can be daisy chained. Can I use a switch with my NI 9144s instead to form a star topology?
You cannot use normal routers, switches or hubs with the NI 9144. This is because the NI 9144 uses the EtherCAT® protocol, which is different than the TCP/IP protocol that typical routers, switches and hubs use. The NI 9144 does not require any IP address set-up because it is not using the TCP/IP protocol. You could connect the 9144 to a router, but the router will not understand the communication protocol and will not be able to direct the packets correctly. This will cause the connection between the 9144 and the host device to be lost.If you wish to setup NI 9144 in a star topology, you would need to get a dedicated EtherCAT® junction, which is a specially designed junction to handle EtherCAT® protocol. To find out more information about the inner workings of EtherCAT® communication on the 9144, see NI 9144 Expansion Chassis Under the Hood.
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