I'm considering what kind of project I'd like to do for my next year in college. I have an idea for creating a network host device that will work on an Ethernet LAN. Obviously, my device would need some sort of Network Interface Card in it.
Thinking about it for about 10 seconds tho, I realised that it might be a *very* complicated job to create a Network Interface Card, considering things like having to implement Carrier Sense Multi- Access/Collission Detection. Not that I'm one to shy away from a big job, but I plan on having this project done within a year :-P
So I'm thinking maybe I should just get a small NIC from somewhere else and use it on my board? That way, my board would consist of my microcontroller which would have networking code on it, and the micrcontroller would interface with the on-board NIC.
I did a quick search on the net for small NIC's and I came across these funky little USB devices:EdpNo=2703732&CatId=589
Basically it's a tiny little NIC that connects to a PC via USB. Would it be feasible to take the circuit board out of one of these and use it on my own board? I realise that I would then need some sort of USB interface for my micrcontroller but maybe there's an easy way of doing that. . . ? The bulk of my own project would then be working with the microcontroller and programming it.
Also, what kind of micrcontroller would I use if I was intending to send data at about 100 Mbps... seems like I'd need a pretty fast one?
One last question... why are network cards so big? I have some decade-old network cards in my house and they're about the size of an envelope. I would have though they could fit all of that into the size of a postage stamp. . ?