Qualcomm Adds Femtocell Capabilities to Wi-Fi Products for Corporate Networks

In the five months since San Diego’s Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) completed its acquisition of San Jose, CA-based Atheros Communications, the two companies have been working to integrate their operations and combine their technologies.

One example of how that’s playing out came into focus yesterday, with Qualcomm saying it has combined its proprietary Femtocell modem chipset with Atheros’ Wi-Fi and Ethernet product lines.

Atheros already held a dominant position as a provider of Wireless local area network (LAN) equipment, according to Irvind Ghai, director of enterprise marketing at Qualcomm Atheros. Atheros has been making its Wi-Fi products under the brand names of other electronics manufacturers, targeting “enterprise” customers who operate corporate, hotel, and other wireless networks, Ghai says.

Adding Qualcomm’s femtocell to the Wi-Fi box expands the capabilities of wireless networks, enabling its customers to offer an improved product and eliminates the necessity of working with separate distributors for Wi-Fi and cellular products, Ghai says. It’s also a smart tactical move, as the iPad and other tablets can connect to either a Wi-Fi or cellular network.

The integrated Femto-Wi-Fi design enable Qualcomm’s customers to create access points that let their enterprise network customers connect to both Wi-Fi and cellular networks through a single gateway, enabling users to access services via either technology. While Qualcomm’s designs will initially target enterprise networks, the products can be scaled down for residential applications or scaled up for outdoor metro applications.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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