Advanced uses.

So, you have gone to all the trouble of fitting network hardware and installing a network stack, what good will it do you? What can it do that your legacy serial port or USB connection can't?

You can replace the serial port connection with the network connection. It is faster. It can connect just as easily across a room, across a building or across the internet. Lots of devices can connect to a single computer without installing lots of serial ports. Using cheap network switches you aggregate lots of devices all communicating with one or more computers.
At the same time:
Provide a separate connection to another computer where you can send datalog information. At the same time that you are using the control link, the datalog can be running as well. This could provide audit information and tracking of what the device has been doing.
At the same time:
Provide a connection across the internet for service and support. Rather than your engineers going on-site to support a product, now they can connect from their desktops to any of your devices to monitor, control and support your customers.
At the same time:
Run a web server on your device. This sounds complicated, but a simple web server is easy to implement. Now, you can control and monitor your device from any computer with a web browser (and that is ALL of them, including Iphones and tablets running any operating system.) Now, you don't need your special control application that needs to be upgraded with every new version of Windows and does not yet work in Linux.
At the same time:
Run an FTP server. This provides a view of your device as a file system. Your data can be uploaded to the computer as a file whenever you need it either using an FTP program, or more easily using a standard browser. You can also download set-up and configuration information to the device in the same way.

There are many other services that can be added to this list but hopefully this will get you thinking.
Chrysalis has been developing networked products for the last 10 years. Could we help you with yours?