Linux based system fits in a RJ45 connector ...


Staff member
While reading my email this morning, I found this little gem:


This device is begging for HA integration!
At 99 Euros, I'll let someone else play with this first. :)

It looks pretty interesting, actually. I'm not sure I would go with one of these over something like the Lantronix XPort (at around $50).

There are many, many ways to connect small devices to ethernet these days. I'm not sure there is much of a market, yet, however. It's one of those "it costs too much, I'll wait until the price comes down" vs. "We only have a few customers, so the price has to be this high" situations. Once the market takes off, I think we'll see a potential explosion of devices available (unless ethernet has been replaced by then).

Would you pay the extra $100 for a refrigerator that you can log into to check its temperature?

In many ways, I think these benefit the tinkerer/hobbyist the most. They allow you to create ethernet-enabled devices relatively cheaply (if you're only making one or two). At that level, you don't always need to justify the cost.
You definitely have some very valid points, but keep in mind that this is more than just a webserver on a closed system, this is a full Linux system, so it's easy to make changes. Imagine one of these connected to a light switch, and being able to have the light switch it self run a 'scheduler' to turn certain lights on / off instead of relying on a central HA server for such basic tasks. Maybe even clustering could be an option here, who knows.
I would argue that your light switch does not need the overhead of Linux to do what you want. And are you willing to spend that much extra for an autonomous light switch? :)

You can do basic scheduling with a $5 microcontroller. You don't really need to run an operating system.

I also think that centralized control really does have a place in things. I don't necessarily want every light switch to need to know whether I'm home or not, what the temperature in each room is, whether doors are open, etc. But all of these may be determining factors in whether a light or appliance is on or off. With reliable communications and reliable central control, the individual nodes don't need to be very smart.
Like smee, the Lantronix XPort immediately came to mind as soon as I saw the picture. You can read up on the XPort here:

I remember dicussing the XPort with Dan Boone at ADI over a year ago and he said that they did experiment with it but there were bugs. Since both devices are web servers, I guess the only difference is that the new one is Linux based.

As smee observed, this is mostly a question of cost right now. At $50, the XPort can be justified for a "relatively expensive" device like a thermostat, where having a web page is handy for showing multiple settings. My APC UPS also has a built-in web server (server brand unknown). If they could ever bring it down to something like $10-15, then it could become viable for appliances and such. At that price, it will likely be a bare chip so the connector would still need to be added and integrated to the device's circuit board.
The Lantronix device was mentioned on that page as well. I think when it comes to implementing this in big appliances, the price won't be a problem, since they would be mass produced, and would barely make a difference in the final price of the product (not to mention that the mentioned price is retail, not OEM). The light switch was not the great example, but look at appliances such as the Audrey, so many people hack it to get more out of it, all possible thanks to Qnx.