Thanks for your replies! My intention is mostly to learn about Ethernet, and eventually, TCP/IP and HTTP transactions. For now, I don't intend on having any internet connectivity.
I was hoping to come up with a "simple" network that can support many nodes (microcontrollers), so additional ndoes could be added in the future:
1) Any node should be able to communicate directly with any other node (I.E. no master/slave designations)
2) If one node sends data to another node, but somehow it gets corrputed by a collision or bad data, the sending node should resend the data (hopefully automatically)
3) Network speed is not of great concern - simplicity is!
--> I understand that if three or more nodes are used, then a switch would be needed to interface all of them
Forgive my lack of knowledge concerning networking.
If I wanted to get two or three MBed microcontrolelrs to talk to each other directly (through an Ethernet cable or cables), what would be the simplest "protocol" to do this? I am talking about just passing simple data (let's say, 8 bits at a time) between each of the MBeds - no interaction with a PC computer or the internet.
Thanks for any suggestions you can give!