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Intel bolsters base band processing with Mindspeed

Posted: 19 Dec 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:base stations? wireless? base band? C-RAN?

Mindspeed closed a deal last month to be acquired by wireless specialist Macom for $272 million just as it was entering negotiations to sell its wireless business to Intel. Mindspeed previously announced that if its wireless business was not acquired, it would be restructured and wound down. Intel declined to comment on the purchase price.

Rose Schooler, vice president and general manager of Intel's communications and storage group, said in an interview with EE Times that it had been a long journey for Intel to acquire Mindspeed.

Schooler said the deal would help Intel support base band processing, including turbo N Code and Z Code functions. "It has been a decade-long journey [to support all comms workloads] and this acquisition is one of the final building blocks," she said.

Stephen Price, general manager of Intel's comms division, also spoke to EE Times regarding the acquisition. "It comes with the product line, the access, the people and the know-how."

The deal also boosts Intel's abilities in the emerging area of cloud radio access networks where x86 servers run a larger part of the base band processing, he told us. C-RAN will make it more efficient to administer and manage the network.

Intel is collaborating on C-RAN pilots in China and South Korea. "We've had our customers' equipment manufacturers say they have nine architectures to juggle," Schooler said. "This simplifies their tool environment."

Price says the acquisition targets an entire product line of technology. "Where we're going with that is everything from the datacenter to the phone must be a very intelligent architecture."

Asked why Intel targeted Mindspeed specifically, Schooler pointed to its very "prominent" position in the small-cell market. "It has generations of products that have already been taken to market. They have competency in both silicon and software that we think will be very valuable to continuing our strategy of building out our portfolio across all network markets."

Price said Mindspeed has a very good technology in the small-cell market, which, coupled with Intel technology, can span from the core of the network all the way back to the handset.

Schooler called Mindspeed's wireless division a tremendous opportunity for growth. "One of the key gaps we wanted to close was in the area of wireless access, and that's what this acquisition allows us to do."

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