*Having access to the Ethernet headers would be preferable although we could probably live without it and let the ESP8266 do its own ARPing.
If this is possible what would be the best way to go about it? The information available on this device is rather daunting but I imagine it would have to involve using the native SDK or perhaps some variant thereof.
Please no "why don't you just do ... instead" type answers. We have valid reasons for needing to do things this way but ironically simpler WiFi modules that do what we need are considerably more expensive.