3Com, Infineon Settle ‘Ethernet Over DSL’ Squabble

Two networking companies Thursday put aside their past differences and settled certain patents related to Ethernet over Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).

Santa Clara, Calif.-based 3Com said it has entered into an agreement that assigns 3Com’s rights to the Internet technology to Infineon Technologies , Europe’s No. 2 chipmaker, which has U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley.

The agreement gives Infineon undivided interest to the patents in question, which include the company’s Packet-over-VDSL (PoVDSL) technology and 10BaseS chips. In turn, 3Com received an undisclosed fee and will subsequently receive a portion of royalties earned through future licensing of the patents by Infineon.

The technology allows for broadband services such as multi-channel video, interactive gaming, and other IP-based applications over the existing infrastructure.

The hubbub began a few years back when engineers from 3Com assisted engineers at Savan, an Israeli start-up acquired by Infineon, when they developed the technology protected by these patents.

So instead of continuing any more legal action, the two companies decided to share in the profits.

“The fact that Infineon shipped over 2 million Ethernet over VDSL chipsets in fiscal year 2002 validates our leadership in this key market. Securing full ownership of the patents will enable Infineon to further extend its position as a supplier of advanced technology solutions to communications equipment providers,” said Infineon vice president and Savan CEO Noam Alroy.

Infineon’s Octal-10BaseS is an 8-port Ethernet over QAM-VDSL chipset. The technology is used for extending Ethernet’s reach in in-building and campus broadband communication systems such as high-density Ethernet switches or IP-DSLAMs.

The advancement allows for 10Mbps symmetric full-duplex Ethernet services over single-pair copper wires at distances of up to 4000ft (1200m), which the company said is cheaper than deploying CAT-5 cabling. Infineon’s 10BaseS technology-enabled systems allow service providers to extend their IP service network over copper to customers who have been requesting Ethernet services yet could not be serviced before.

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