ARCNET is designated as a high-speed local area network (LAN) well-suited for real-time control applications in both the industrial and commercial marketplaces. Its proven design, robust performance and the availability of low-cost silicon have made it the network of choice between embedded microcontrollers.

Originally developed by Datapoint Corporation in the mid-70s and moved to silicon in 1982, ARCNET continues to find new applications well beyond its original intention as a network for an Attached Resource Computer (ARCNET). The ARCNET Resource Center (ARC) is a play on those original words. The mission of ARC is to provide a single depository of information to assist designers, integrators and users of this robust networking technology. Technical contributions to this resource center are encouraged from those who believe that ARCNET continues to play a unique role in embedded networking.

The ARCNET Trade Association (ATA) is no longer an active organization, but the ARCNET standard ATA 878.1-1999 is available for free to the public by download.

Sponsorship of the ARCNET Resource Center is by Contemporary Controls. They fund the resource center's development and maintenance while contributing technical material to educate the public. Others contribute their time and effort without compensation.

With the sale of more than 22 million nodes of ARCNET across the continents, this technology is alive and well in diverse industries. The ARCNET Resource Center will strive to provide as much assistance as possible to allow users around the globe to work smarter and more efficiently with this technology.

ARCNET is being used in a wide variety of embedded networking applications. Some examples of these applications are:


In building automation, ARCNET is included in the worldwide recognized BACnet standard.

Nuclear Power Plant

Industrial monitoring and control systems for a variety of industries including nuclear power plant systems

Payphone keypad

Networking of switching systems used in pay telephone products


Unconventional energy sources, such as these windmills, which need to provide uninterrupted service - even during thunderstorms

Television Screen

Video graphics and character generator equipment used by television broadcasters, cable providers and post-production facilities

Horse Racing

Race track pari-mutuel wagering systems which print bet tickets,calculate odds, and process redemption of winning tickets

US Navy Vessel

Shipboard communications in US Navy vessels

Welding Controls

Factory automation systems, such as those used in welding controls

NASA Space Shuttle

Space travel simulation equipment used by NASA to train its astronauts


Medical image networking, such as communications in X-ray equipment

Medical Imaging

Communications in medical electronic equipment


For people on the go, ARCNET is used in paging and messaging control systems