Ethernet over USB Connection for Simplified Target Configuration, Debugging, and Maintenance


The NI LabVIEW 2014 Real-Time Module helps you easily connect select real-time targets running NI Linux Real-Time to a host computer using a USB connection. You can use the USB device port in device configuration, application deployment, debugging, and maintenance.

Target Configuration

This USB connection is emulated as an Ethernet device and available on targets running the NI Linux Real-Time OS, NI cRIO-903x, NI cRIO-906x, NI cDAQ-913x, NI sbRIO-9651 System on Module (SOM), NI 9149, and the NI myRIO device. An automatic DHCP network is created over the USB device port, which allows for system updates apart from the physical Ethernet connection. The DHCP server assigns new targets IP addresses from block 172.22.11.*.

Figure 1. Available network settings for a cRIO-9033 target with two physical Ethernet ports and one USB device port.

Target Deployment and Debugging

When you complete your application and are ready to deploy, a physical Ethernet port provides a more robust distributed solution with higher throughput. The USB device port can still be handy for debugging your application, viewing a console, or recovering the target if it goes offline.

Target Maintenance

Update your target in a remote location or distributed system with the USB device port. For example, you can install a software, firmware, or driver update through the USB device port during field maintenance instead of interrupting communication on the 8P8C Ethernet ports.

Figure 2. Update software or firmware using the USB device port from Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) or the NI network browser (shown).

Technical Considerations

When you plug in your USB target for the first time, NI automatically installs the host-side driver necessary to communicate.  Note that since this is an Ethernet connection under the hood, networking with these targets can still be affected by firewalls and antivirus software. Make sure to open the proper ports to establish communication or you may not be able to discover your target.

Your USB connection also appears in MAX under My System»Devices and Interfaces, which shows that your host machine recognized the physical connection. There are no configuration options in this menu. To configure and install software to the target, expand Remote Systems to find your target as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. The USB device connection appears under My Systems in MAX but is configured under Remote Systems.

There are two known issues with the Ethernet over USB connection in multiple device scenarios and if your host computer hibernates while software is installing. For more information, please reference the additional links below.

Additional Links

Configuring Software and Hardware Firewalls to Support National Instruments Products

Ethernet over USB Connectivity Known Issues