A network system having a wide variety of applications and particularly applicable to facilities management systems includes network controllers which continuously process data related to building and industrial, environmental, security and other automated system controls. Each network controller has a network address indicative of a communication link to which the network controller is connected, a local address and a node drop ID to determine whether the network controller is a configured or non-configured device. Data stored in an archive device is downloaded to a destination network controller in the absence of a routing table in the destination network controller by transmitting a download request message from the archive device to an intermediate network controller with a routing table. The intermediate network controller assumes control of the download request by transmitting the message to the destination controller. The destination controller acknowledges receipt of the message by transmitting an acknowledge message back to the intermediate network controller, which passes the acknowledge message to the archive device in accordance with the routing information stored in the intermediate network controller. Thus, as certain network controllers are connected, disconnected or disabled during the operation of the network, the control of a process is not interrupted. Additionally, the network controllers are not configured to store large amounts of routing data because a path to a device can be established through other controllers with routing information.