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Arduino Ethernet

I have been playing with ethernet for the Arduino – I got hold of a Nuelectronics EtherShield and started to make it work. The examples were badly formatted and difficult to read but I learnt a lot of TCPIP and got it working fine. The issue here is that as you are down at the TCPIP layer there is a lot of code to manage and you are limited to quite small packets (as the Arduino does not have a lot of RAM). However this is a great larning tool for Ethernet protocols.
So my next step was to look around for something that could do more – I came across the LadyAda Ethernet Shield kit and decided to get this and a XPORT ethernet module. I’ve put these all together and I can now communicate with larger packets – I tried the provided “Read from Twitter” example, after altering it to match the current Twitter formats it worked fine. I wasn’t receiving the whole page but around 11 Kbytes is not bad (compared to around 500 bytes for the EtherShield). It uses a library called NewSoftSerial, a great improvement over the the one provided in the Arduino kit; it uses interrupts to get the data. I couldn’t get consistant performance over 19200 baud so I am looking forward to a release that properly implements RTS/CTS then we should be able to run comfortably at 57600 baud.

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