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PC with Large number of LAN interfaces

I want to build a PC with as much as 16, 24, 32 Ethernet ports (100 Mbps) + one Gbps Ehternet port.

What is the most cost effective way to do that?

A not much cost effective solution would be using 4/6/8 of these cards to begin with ($1000)

http://www.startech.com/Networking-IO/Adapter-Cards/4-Port-PCI-Express-Gigabit-Ethernet-NIC-Network-Adapter-Card~ST1000SPEX4

But I would need up to 8 PCIe slots on the MoBo!
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More about large number lan interfaces
  1. Thanks Deuce65, but maybe I should have mentioned that I do know what a LAN switch is. However, I want to make my own switch based on a PC. I have updated the thread title to reflect this.
  2. What are you trying to accomplish with so many ports on one machine at that cost?

    Do you need them in the PC, as opposed to a managed switch which will allow significant configuration from the PC?
  3. Your best option will be to buy a managed switch and assign each port to a different vlan. The on one port connected to your computer combine all these vlans together using vlan tags. ..ie a 802.1q trunk. Then on your PC create separate virtual interfaces for each vlan. It will appear that each end device is plugged directly into your virtual ethernet interface.

    You will of course be limited by the single connection to the PC but I suspect you will find other bottlenecks way before you get to 1g.
  4. We need this setup for an experimental system. This is going to be used both as switch and router.
    The router/switch should be "open". We want to know what's going on in it. A black box won't do it.
    It's not conventional routing/switching it will be used in a special network with custom routing/switching algorithms.

    Next we'll implement the logic on FPGAs. but for now we need to implement it on a PC. Currently 16 interfaces (one 1 Gbps) will do the job.
  5. Best answer
    Reinventing the wheel I see. Layer 3 switches are a very mature market.

    Generally nobody designs new network equipment using this method. You can not even think that traffic will behave the same when you are running it though multiple buses and general purpose processors and think it will run on a gate array.

    This is almost always done with software simulators.
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