I'm just wondering if the whole network issue isn't really related to not enough memory / cpu due to it being only 8 bit.
I think we have a misunderstanding. We have 2 entirely different control boards doing different functions working as a system to run the printer. Yes, the motion control board that literally runs the hardware is an 8 bit dedicated microcontroller. While only 8 bit and some limitations, this is a tried and true proven solution in the 3D printing world due to the precision capability to provide coordinated (and trust me, that word sounds simple but has huge meaning and implications to motion) timing outputs to the stepper drivers. Simply put a microcontroller is the right choice here.
The pcDuino IMX6 (based on the Acadia) Raise Touch board is what is acting as a GCODE print server and front panel user interface to send gcode commands to the motion control board. So all your networking is controlled via a custom version of this http://www.linksprite.com/linksprite-acadia/
Processor is IMX6 Quad processor Freescale Quad ARM Cortex A9 based solution up to 1.2GHz https://www.nxp.com/products/processors ... ore:i.MX6Q
That board also has 1GB of RAM
This is the board running the custom OS, the Raise 3D Raise Touch application that forms the front panel user interface and gcode streaming engine. The underlying OS handles the standard network layer.