Incorporating networking support in an embedded device might seem like an overwhelming task at first glance. However, any embedded system, even older ones, can be updated with a software network stack to extend its feature set and incorporate such modern conveniences as emailing an administrator when alarms occur, and a web server to provide a remote user interface accessible from any web browser. This paper describes reasonably simple ways to add networking capabilities while reigning in costs.

Adding a network stack to a system might seem a very resource-intensive software module to incorporate as well; however, the processing power and memory needed to accommodate network support on a device can be greatly reduced by selecting the proper solution. Several software network stacks are currently available that target deeply embedded systems where processor cycles and memory are limited. The network interface (such as Ethernet) for the stack can quickly become expensive and complicated, but this can be solved by running a simple Serial Line Interface Protocol (SLIP) or Point to Point Protocol (PPP) over a UART port for the network interface.