Writes Rafe Needleman is his “Catch of the Day” column:
Startup Ipsil is addressing this with a low-cost Web server on a chip. The device takes electronic input and serves it onto the Internet; it can also take input from the Net and translate it into commands or data for equipment. CEO Velu Sinha says he’s “de-layered” the IP stack (the collection of protocols that handle the different functions involved in moving data between a computing device and the physical network cable) and built a Web server in just 5,000 logic gates, on one low-cost chip. In quantity, his server chip should cost less than a dollar. An Ethernet cable costs more than that.
Devices with powerful CPUs and general-purpose operating systems would not gain much from the Ipsil technology, which offers only stripped-down network functionality. But the Ipsil “IP UART,” as Velu characterizes it, could save engineers of lower-powered devices from having to support a lot of computing overhead simply to get their products online.
Velu sees the technology being applied first in low-cost IP telephones, webcams, and consumer electronics, devices in which a full-on operating system would be too expensive to support. Eventually he may build inexpensive serial-to-IP converters to get legacy devices, like manufacturing equipment, online as well.