I have built a control panel for my WiFi radio that uses Ethernet, so I can avoid opening my router and adding a serial port. It is based around the Arduino platform, with the Ethernet Shield.
I have it written up as an Instructable, with photos ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Standalone-WiFi-Radio-Control-Panel-Arduino-Power/
). I'm working on a more detailed writeup, with a better explanation of the code (particularly the scrolling mechanism), on my other site: http://schazamp.wordpress.com/
, which I expect to post in the next few days (I'll update this thread when I do, if I'm not cut off by the change in hosting providers we've been warned about).
I'd like to find a nicer enclosure for it, and maybe find a way to put the router and control panel in the same enclosure (I currently also use the router as a wired bridge to my wireless network, so I need access to the ports).
Apart from the expense (which can get big pretty quickly, with all this Arduino stuff), do you have any thoughts about using an Ethernet connection for control? I'm looking into some lower-cost ethernet platforms (like this one: http://www.instructables.com/id/A-credit-card-sized-Ethernet-Arduino-compatable-co/
, and some PIC-based stuff, as well), but the coding approach should be pretty-much the same.