The idea for an ARCNET Trade Association (ATA) was extremely ambitious according to George Thomas, President of Contemporary Controls. Backed by seed money and the persistent efforts of his marketing consultant, Ben Wolfe of the IPS Company, an organizational meeting between those companies most interested in starting an association was underway. After coming to a consensus on the association's purpose and name, the ATA was incorporated in the State of Illinois as a not-for-profit organization in August 1987. It was formed to remedy ARCNET's low profile in the computer industry. ARCNET has evolved into a mature, well-established LAN technology since its introduction as the first commercially available LAN on the market in 1977.

In 1991, the ARCNET Trade Association (ATA) received accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a standards developer using the canvass method. ANSI is the organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems. In 1992, the ATA achieved approval of an American national standard that defines the basic ARCNET technology and recommends certain practices that increase reliability and interoperability. The standard specifies the formats and protocols used by the 878.1 token passing bus medium access control (MAC) sublayer and physical (PHY) layer. The ATA standards committee proposed a revision to the standard in 1999 to include alternate physical layers such as fiber optics and EIA-485 communications as well as alternate data rates. ATA then completed the process established by ANSI for obtaining a consensus on the revision. Following ANSI approval of the revised standard, ANSI/ATA 878.1-1999 Local Area Network: Token Bus was published.

In December 2007, the ATA formally requested ANSI to withdraw ANSI/ATA 878.1-1999 from its ANSI standards inclusion. As ARCNET migrated from a commercial networking technology to an embedded networking technology, the need for vendor interoperability no longer was an issue. The ARCNET standard then became ATA 878.1-1999 and is now available to the public free of charge by electronic download.

Today, 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. The material found on this website was the result of the efforts of the ARCNET Trade Association. Although the ATA is no longer an active association, its legacy is preserved by ATA founding member Contemporary Controls. Any inquires can be addressed to