fully software base network intrusion detection system

we are currently working on our thesis entitled Network base intrusion detection system. And i just want to know if it can run in a LAN holding about 80 computers. one of the open source application i found was SNORT, but i don't really know alot about SNORT if it is the right application i am looking for, also, i am planning to write a NIDS in VB.NET-is it okay? i have also learned that when having a NIDS you also needed to have some hardware like tap, i want clarified if a SNORT can run without any hardware, rather fully software.
thanks for any help!
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