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I don't think USB chip is more expensive than Ethernet chip. So, I expect there should exist a board like Arduino, but where USB is removed in favour of Ethernet.

Are there such boards?

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Yes, there's the Arduino Ethernet. Available from Sparkfun for example

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    Important to note: you need to use an FTDI serial to upload sketches. You cannot upload sketches through the Ethernet chip. – Len Jul 27 '16 at 14:15
  • @Len Correct, this would require a bootloader with Ethernet support as mentioned by Majenko. In this context it is also worth to note that the original Arduino Ethernet is retired. – jogco Jul 27 '16 at 15:56
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It is highly unlikely you will ever find an "Ethernet only" board. There are plenty of boards that have both Ethernet and USB, but one without USB? I doubt it.

To make an Ethernet only board you would first need to create a bootloader with built-in support for the Ethernet port as well as a way of configuring that port to suit your network. Than kind of program would be rather large and take up a fair proportion of the flash memory, leaving you with much less room for your own program.

And as you have rightly noticed, USB chips (especially the dreaded CH340G, the bane of my life) are so cheap now, so why wouldn't you include one on your board?

So you get boards with both USB and Ethernet, and you install the software (generally) through USB which doesn't need any special configuration or complex software to get it to work.

Some boards provide "OTA" (Over The Air) updates, such as the ESP8266, but these generally require the OTA software first installing via the USB (or UART) connection to allow it to communicate on your network and accept OTA firmware. Others, such as the Arduino Yun, use multiple MCUs to provide remote programming. In the case of the Yun you get a "host" microcontroller which is considerably more powerful than the AVR microcontroller that it is programming, which always strikes me as a little pointless.

So no, I doubt that anyone would ever want to make an Ethernet only board.

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  • I don't understand, why would I need to create "bootloader" with Ethernet while I don't need with USB? What is magic difference between two jacks? – Dims Jul 27 '16 at 18:02
  • You need a bootloader whichever you use. The "magic" difference is that the USB bootloader has already been written. Also USB is much much much simpler than Ethernet. A full IP stack is large. Very large. And complex. Very complex. – Majenko Jul 27 '16 at 18:03
  • What about just Ethernet, w/o IP stack? – Dims Jul 27 '16 at 18:43
  • And how is that supposed to work? – Majenko Jul 27 '16 at 18:47
  • You are showing a fundamental lack of understanding of technologies and terminologies. Go look at just what Ethernet is. – Majenko Jul 27 '16 at 18:47

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