ARCNET AI-USB Series Functions as Both a Hub and a USB Adapter to an ARCNET network

Product Overview

  • Functions as both a hub and USB interface to the ARCNET network
  • Sends/receives ARCNET packets to/from a USB-connected computer
  • Compatible with the baseband ARCNET network
  • Two external hub ports for expansion
  • Supports coaxial and twisted-pair networks including AC- and DC-coupled EIA-485
  • Operates with the USB 1.1 standard
  • Incorporates a COM20022 ARCNET controller chip
  • Embedded microcontroller provides 128 Kbytes of receiver buffering
  • LED indicators identify reconfigurations and port activity
  • Minimizes bit jitter with precision delay-line timing
  • Low-voltage AC- or DC-powered

Product Details

The AI-USB hub will alter the way you hook up to an ARCNET network. The real beauty of this product is that it gives users easy access to the network via a PC without removing the cover. It helps prevent any aggravation for the service technician because it eliminates the installation of an ARCNET card in the PC.

This device is described as an ARCNET active hub that provides similar hub functionality as an AI Series hub, but allows access to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) to a host PC. It is a three-port hub-two external ARCNET ports and one internal. The internal hub port has an embedded connection to a USB ARCNET adapter (network interface module) resident in the AI-USB. The USB connection is brought out to the front panel so a laptop or desktop computer can gain Plug-and-Play (PnP) access to an ARCNET network.

It conforms to the USB 1.1 standard, a fast and convenient method of accessing an ARCNET network without the need of removing a cover and installing a network interface module into a computer. Today, most computers are sold equipped with a USB port so it is only necessary to make a direct connection between the computer and the AI-USB.

An ideal application for the AI-USB is temporary access to an ARCNET network by simply hooking from a laptop computer using its USB port. With the AI-USB permanently connected to the ARCNET network, field wiring is not disturbed when attaching the USB cable. In this way, an ARCNET network can be monitored, stations configured and troubleshooting can be accomplished with minimal disruption to the network. With two external hub ports, the AI-USB can be inserted between two bus segments and function as a bus extender. Models are available for coaxial bus, twisted-pair bus and both AC- and DC-coupled EIA-485.

When the USB cable is first attached to a Windows® 2K/XP/Vista machine, the user is prompted for a driver on a disk. Our company offers a USB driver and DLL that has an Application Programming Interface (API) that is compatible with Contemporary Controls' Null Stack Driver API. By not using a protocol stack, a null stack driver gives superior performance over a layered protocol stack by directly linking the application to the ARCNET hardware. This approach is beneficial when timely access to a real-time network like ARCNET is required.

The USB adapter within the AI-USB consists of a high-speed microcontroller and a COM20022 ARCNET controller. Each unit provides 128 Kbytes of ARCNET receiver buffering, greatly aiding the reception of broadcast messages. With a 480 Mbps USB link, the potential of dropping ARCNET packets is remote.

The AI-USB has the same style power connectors as the AI Series of hubs. The unit can be powered from a wide range of low-voltage AC or DC power sources and provisions exist for redundant power connections. It is shipped with a CD containing Windows 2K/XP/Vista compatible software along with a USB cable.

Ordering Information

This product has been discontinued. Please contact your regional office for replacement options.