A CAN starter kit containing a corresponding intelligent host CAN interface card, a digital I/O field device and all necessary cables is available for ISA, PCI, PC/104, CompactPCI and VMEbus platforms. In addition, the delivery set contains software driver libraries for WinNT, Linux and VxWorks which the user can directly apply to his application. Example programs and full documentation make the kit complete. For visualization and evaluation of the CAN data, the software tool CANlook is included. The user can also view and alter CAN messages, or carry out statistical functions. Another benefit is that higher layer protocols such as CAL/CANopen or DeviceNet are handled on-board.