Published in Mobiles

Intel’s Mindspeed buy points to network future

Carrier support

Intel’s acquisition of the wireless access business Mindspeed could indicate that Chipzilla is starting to find a serious role in the mobile business. The move aims to extend the Intel architecture throughout mobile operator networks, helping the carriers upgrade hardware and roll out new services more quickly.

Mindspeed, known for chips that power small cells, is selling itself off. The bits that Intel does not want are being flogged of to network chip maker M/A-COM Technology Solutions for US$272 million. Intel has begun making inroads into service-provider networks building on the fact that Intel-architecture chips already power application processing within those networks, as well as control functions and processing of IP (Internet Protocol) packets.

With the Mindspeed assets, Intel will gain tech at the edge of mobile systems – things like the radio-access networks (RANs) where client devices hit cellular base stations and are converted into packets. Intel is planning a “cloud RAN” architecture where RAN functions are carried out on pooled computing resources. Mindspeed’s technology will help Intel get into this area with full-size macro cells as well as with small cells.

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