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Cheap embedded ethernet/tcp-ip solutions

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by roxlu, Sep 27, 2006.

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  1. roxlu

    roxlu Guest

    Hi all,

    I want to create a project which is connected to the internet and which
    can handle simple mesages like 'on,[col],[row]' or 'off,[col],[row]. I
    don't want to have a computer connected to this
    project, I just want to connect the project to a hub/switch and it has
    to be ready to go (somewhat).

    I've seen some projects which use embedded linux with ethernet cards...
    As I'm looking for a very simple and as cheap as possible solution,
    this is not the best solution.

    As I'm a total newbie in this field, can you give me some suggestions?

    Thanx in advance,
  2. Tim Auton

    Tim Auton Guest

    I actually think an embedded Linux box might be the cheapest, simplest
    option. Economies of scale mean things like NAS boxes and wireless
    routers which you can buy at your local computer shop and a million
    other places are often cheaper than more specialised products made of
    cheaper components.

    A Linksys NSLU2 for example costs $80-$100 US. Compare that to the $159
    for this AVR with Ethernet starter kit from here:

    The NSLU2 has >10x the processing power, 10x the networking speed, 1000x
    as much RAM, 64x as much storage (even without adding a hard drive), USB
    ports and comes in a nice case with a power supply. For half the price
    of the AVR system. That makes it >12.8 million times better value :)

  3. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    The most difficult part is to get an ethernet transformer. If it is a
    one-off circuit, you can consider taking a transformer from an ISA
    ethernet card. A Cirrus Logic CS8900 ethernet controller (which
    basically has an ISA interface) can be interfaced very easely to an 8
    bit microcontroller. Software for a small tcp/ip stack (less than 1kb
    of RAM required) is also available for free from several websites.
  4. mkaras

    mkaras Guest

    You do NOT need an embedded Linux solution to make a simple solution.
    Check out the X-Port products here:

    - mkaras
  5. roxlu

    roxlu Guest

    Hi Nico,

    Thanks for your reply! As I'm very new to this field, I'm wondering
    what that
    tcp/ip stack is.. is that an implementation of TCP/IP on which must be
    on the microcontroller?

    If so which ucontrollers are a wise choose for this? (I only need the
    internet connection, some output pins)

    Thanks in advance
  6. Guest

  7. jasen

    jasen Guest

    you'll need some network hardware there's no way a 40Mhz microcontroller alone
    can keep up with even 10Mb/s ethernet signals.
    google for "microcontroller"+"ip stack"

  8. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Yes, the 'tcp/ip stack' is the protocol implementation.
    Renesas H8 or Texas Instruments MSP430 may be suitable. Be carefull to
    select devices with at least 2KB of RAM memory. An MSP149

    Look here:
  9. roxlu

    roxlu Guest

    Hi All!

    Thanks for all your replies! I've been looking at several solutions,
    though all are
    quite expensive (> 50$). I'm new to this field, but is a price around
    or higher than 50$
    the cheapest solution?

    Gr. Roxlu
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