I had an idea of a network appliance, and so I bought a second-hand Arduino with an Ethernet shield, and a couple months later, it works! I am a programmer by trade and even though I am not familiar with such low-level coding and I did not have lots of free time, I was able to pull it through. There is still work to be done, but essentially, it works!
So now I am seriously considering mass-producing and marketing the device. The only things it needs are the Ethernet jack (I programmed for the W5100) and the microcontroller. The ICs themselves are very cheap, but I am wondering how much it costs to have a custom board manufactured. IteadStudio will sell an assembled board (iBoard) for $29, but I was hoping to get something for half that price in volume. I have a bunch of open questions, which it would be great if someone could answer, but if not, I'm just thinking out loud. I need a PCB designed, then I guess I need it validated somehow before placing an order with a contract assembler for volume production. Also, I would need to find an enclosure beforehand so that I know what the dimension of the PCNB needs to be and where to drill the holes. BTW, it would be nice to have a stylish enclosure, but still cheap. Then I need to buy MAC addresses somewhere (one has to pay to reserve them, right?) and program all the boards with the sketch, but also with the individual MAC addresses (how is that done? hope I do not have to hand-edit and upload to each board individually). I need to print some sort of manual and I guess MAC addresses should be noted somewhere there as well. Then I need packaging. The rest is marketing, operations, sales and support, and I do not have three's anything specific to electronics there, but if someone has a story to share, I'd love to hear it! Do I need diagnostics for troubleshooting (e.g. a webserver running on the board or pushing logs to the cloud)? Do I need to offer some kind of firmware upgrades? Please share your knowledge, yuri