Summary:

Qualcomm has made another buy. This time in the emerging small cell market by purchasing Israeli chip company DesignArt. Qualcomm is clearly serious about expanding its chip prowess beyond devices — goring ever deeper into the cell network and the home.

A Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi access point similar to those used in TWC's network (source: Ruckus)
photo: Ruckus Wireless

Qualcomm has purchased Israeli chip firm DesignArt for an undisclosed amount, the companies said on Thursday. The deal boosts Qualcomm’s portfolio of chips that will take it deeper into cellular radio networks. DesignArt made silicon that combines several radio technologies such as LTE on a single chip and can be used to provide wireless backhaul to smaller base stations like femtocells or picocells.

Operators are deploying more of these small cells as they try to keep up with the high demand for mobile data in small and crowded spaces like in offices or shopping malls. Small cells help repurpose crowded airwaves, but still need a way to offload those signals back to the core network via some form of backhaul.
Building backhaul to a large cell tower is easy because there’s plenty of real estate for the equipment, but building backhaul to small cells in places like stadiums is tougher because there may not be close access to a wireline network.

DesignArt’s chips manage to offer wireless backhaul for those small cells and are designed to be deployed in groups. Qualcomm’s clearly interested in this space, having invested in ip.access a maker of small cells.

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