Using Wireshark to Capture EtherCAT Network Packets

Updated Apr 12, 2024



  • NI-9144
  • Ethernet Cable


  • LabVIEW Full
  • LabVIEW Real-Time Module


  • NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT

Programming Language

  • LabVIEW G


  • I want to monitor network communication from my EtherCAT chassis
  • How can I use Wireshark to capture EtherCAT network packets when unexpected problems are happening?

It is possible to use Wireshark to capture EtherCAT network packets. To capture EtherCAT packets, make sure you have the required tools then follow the steps below:
  1. Create a LabVIEW Project with the Real-Time controller and the EtherCAT Slave
  2. Run your EtherCAT VI to begin communication
  3. Open Wireshark and begin capture. You will see the ECAT packets transmitted over the network

Additional Information

  • Recommended Network configuration
    1. Configure the EtherCAT Master
    2. Connect the Wireshark PC ethernet adapter, EtherCAT slave IN port, and the EtherCAT Master adapters to the network hub/switch
    3. Connect the Host PC directly to the EtherCAT Master's Ethernet port as shown in Figure 1 below

Figure 1:  Network topology with network hub/switch, Wireshark PC, host PC, EtherCAT Master, and EtherCAT Slave


  1. If you only care about EtherCAT traffic, do not connect the hub/switch to any other network or network devices. It is preferable to leave the hub/switch only connected to the Wireshark PC, EtherCAT slave, and EtherCAT Master so that you have less traffic to look through, as shown in Figure 1. Connecting other devices to the EtherCAT network could also interfere with EtherCAT communication.
  2. Disable any firewalls that might prevent Wireshark from performing a full capture on all ports.
  3. If you can't see the slave after connecting everything as described above, configure the network switch to be limited to 100 Mbit/s, as the link speed negotiation can make problems.