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Legerity eyes China's soaring telecom switching sector

Posted: 08 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog line card ic? mixed-signal design? telecom switch? legerity? telecom maker?

Legerity Inc., which recently set up its Asian headquarters in Shanghai, is aiming to help mainland China's telecom manufacturersachieve cost-effective designs for both domestic as well as export markets.

China's telecom heavyweights such as Huawei and ZTE are increasingly looking into new markets like India and Russia to export their telecommunications switches.

Legerity, formerly AMD's Communication Products Division, spun off as an independent company in September 2000, has recently designed a fully characterized 32-channel CO line card, so its Chinese customers can easily adapt the reference designs to their specific switch requirements.

Legerity is a fables mixed-signal semiconductor company providing ICs for high-voltage interface, signal conditioning and power management applications.

While most fabless companies get their wafer manufactured by some foundry, Legerity takes pride in having a unique attribute that it owes to its AMD heritage. "We have a process development group that provides us with a proprietary analog semiconductor process technology," said Eric Broockman, VP of marketing at Legerity. "So we have our proprietary processes installed at the Sony fab in San Antonio, Texas and at Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore."

He added: "We have developed software that hides the complexity regarding details of individual codecs and line interfaces. So a telecom OEM does not have to know the details of individual codecs and line interfaces because that is all hidden in software."

Agere deal

In September 2002, Legerity bought out the Voice Interface Solutions division of Agere Systems. That made Legerity the largest manufacturer of analog line card ICs used in digital loop carriers (DLCs), key telephone systems, PBXs, and CO switches.

"The first line driver is capable of supporting ADSL and SDSL products, and we have plans to do other line drivers in the future," said Broockman.

According to him, Legerity got into analog line card business as part of an explicit strategy to diversify the company offerings and leverage its analog and mixed-signal skills. Moreover, he added, "Agere was well placed in China and India, and its customers were complementary to ours."

Legerity was also able to get some great design and process talent through this acquisition. "Experienced analog engineers are hard to come by even in this economy," Broockman said.

Stephen Lin, VP of Asia sales and marketing, said that the recent reorganization has two main goals:

? To further improve the value engineering of what we already have.

? To look for new product to design for local market in China. That includes high-performance analog, not only in telecom but also in other areas like control engineering.

"We are working with the entire telecom food chain in mainland China," said Lin.

Apart from headquarters in Shanghai and sales offices in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the chipmaker has also offices in Japan and South Korea, while it has sales representatives in India and Taiwan.

- Majeed Ahmad

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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