YOu must search for an electronics school no computer science i guess.
owever, since I'm not an Arduino programmer myself, what hardware would be required? how big an effort (hours) would this be for an "experienced" Arduino programmer? beginner?
minimal 1 arduino 1 ethernetshield (better make it 2 of each) and two SIMPL reference devices and a networksniffer preferably one that recognizes SIMPL (2nd project?)
The last 3 as test/debug/reference environment .
hours? => to complete work out a networkprotocol, test and debug it.. 200-500 hours (I don;t know the complexity) for an experienced programmer. Beginners should not implement network protocols imho, if you want to build something e.g. on top of tcp/ip you must understand the behavior of tcp/ip (my opinion)
why so "many" hours
1) time to learn the merites of the SIMPL protocol, reference and test devices - 50 hours (or is it really really really simple?
2) time to design layered architecture (OSI model alike, responsibilities in the right layer, etc) - 30 hours
3) defining tests and write these - 50 hours
4) implement the protocol and test it - 10-20 hours per iteration (expect 5-10 iterations)
5) refactor code 20 hours
6) optimizations optional
As I don't know the merites of the protocol the numbers above are only educated guestimates.
Hope this helpes,