RealTime IT News

TI Buys 11a/g Radio Maker

Texas Instruments (TI), headquartered in Dallas, as announced that it has acquired Radia Communications of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Radia, founded in 2000, is a fabless semiconductor with radio frequency (RF) expertise that has been working with TI, providing the radio designs used in TI's 802.11g and 802.11a chipsets.

"In the wireless LAN space, we didn't have our own radio," says Yoram Solomon, director of business development and strategy planning at TI. "We had some internal research, but no radio. So we worked with partners. In our 11g products, the partner was Radia."

The two companies have already had 11g/b reference designs based on the TNETW1130. The designs are Wi-Fi Certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance and part of the test bed used checking interoperability for all future 802.11g products.

"One of the things we like about Radia is the wide range of offerings. They don't feel 'religious' about any [manufacturing] technology."

Radia's name will be changed to Texas Instruments Sunnyvale, which will be part of TI's Broadband Communications Group. They will stay in California. TI doesn't expect any job losses for the approximately 50 new staffers in Sunnyvale.

TI's previous major WLAN chipset acquisition was Alantro, purchased for $300 in stock in June 2000. That purchase "got us into the broadband/MAC space," says Solomon. "Purchasing Radia completes the solution we offer."

While the acquisition gives TI ownership of 5GHz radios for 802.11a and 2.4GHz radios for 802.11g, Solomon says Radia doesn't have an 11b specific radio (saying the 11g radio used with 11b baseband/MAC would be overkill). TI will continue to use radio chips from other partners such as Maxim and RF Micro Devices for 802.11b-only products. If any of TI's customers for 802.11a/g chips want radios from other vendors, working with other partners in the future will also be considered.

This purchase comes after ripples were stirred in the WLAN chipset world this month by Intersil -- the top provider of 802.11b chipsets to this point -- selling its entire WLAN business to GlobalspanVirata of Red Bank, N.J. for approximately $300 million. Analysts have said a shake out of the WLAN chip market is inevitable over the next year.

Financial terms of the Radia acquisition have not been disclosed; TI will take charges for the acquisition in the current quarter.