Getting started with the Arduino Ethernet Board is quite as simple as getting started with any other Arduino Board. The main microcontroller is based on the ATmega328 such as the Arduino Uno Board itself. There are 14 digital input respectively output pins, 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, an ICSP header, a power jack, a reset button and of course for the Arduino Ethernet Board the RJ45 connection.
But the Arduino Ethernet Board differs from the other Arduino Boards especially in one way: it does not have an onboard USB-to-serial driver chip. To power the Arduino Ethernet Board anyway, you can use an USB Serial adapter as described on the official Arduino website:
»The 6-pin serial programming header is compatible with the USB Serial adapter and also with the FTDI USB cables or with Sparkfun and Adafruit FTDI-style basic USB-to-serial breakout boards. It features support for automatic reset, allowing sketches to be uploaded without pressing the reset button on the board. When plugged into a USB to Serial adapter, the Arduino Ethernet is powered from the adapter.«
— via arduino.cc, Arduino Ethernet Board
Using the Sparkfun Basic Breakout with the Arduino Ethernet Board may require a FTDI Driver that causes the USB device to appear as an additional port available to the computer. Without this special FTDI Driver your Arduino Ethernet Board will be powered, but it is not possible to upload any sketches yet. You will immediately recognize this, because without the FTDI Driver there will be no Serial Port.
Therefore you can download the latest version of the FTDI Driver for FTDI devices on the official website for Virtual COM Port Drivers or straightforward here:
Arduino Ethernet & LiliPad FTDI Basic Breakout
To connect the FTDI Basic Breakout with your computer you can simply use an USB Mini-B Cable (Type A to Mini-B). As mentioned above, it is possible to power the Arduino Ethernet Board from the adapter via the USB connector.
When uploading a sketch make sure that you have chosen the right Board and Serial Port in your Arduino IDE (Arduino › Tools › Board respectively Serial Port). There is no hidden feature therein, but sometimes it is difficult to remember all these things, so just take it as a little reminder.
With all those advice there should be no problem uploading your sketch to the Arduino Ethernet Board. Feel free to contact me if you are still having problems!
Credits are going to Michael Zöllner for all the help and the motivation to write this blogpost.