Intel bought NetSpeed Systems, a company that provides system-on-chip (SoC) design tools and interconnect fabric intellectual property (IP). Intel did not disclose the price. The chip giant says the acquisition will help it more quickly and cost-effectively develop and test new SoCs.
The San Jose, California-based NetSpeed joins Intel’s Silicon Engineering Group led by Jim Keller. NetSpeed co-founder and CEO Sundari Mitra will continue to lead her team as an Intel vice president reporting to Keller.
NetSpeed’s network-on-chip (NoC) tool automates SoC front-end design and generates programmable interconnect fabrics. This becomes more important as SoCs — like Intel’s field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) — grow more complex and specialized. Front-end tools like NetSpeed’s saves chipmakers time and money because they help architects optimize SoC performance before manufacturing the chips.
“Intel is designing more products with more specialized features than ever before, which is incredibly exciting for Intel architects and for our customers,” said Keller in a statement. “The challenge is synthesizing a broader set of IP blocks for optimal performance while reining in design time and cost. NetSpeed’s proven network-on-chip technology addresses this challenge, and we’re excited to now have their IP and expertise in-house.”
Founded in 2011, NetSpeed has raised $13.2 million in three funding rounds. Before it bought the company, Intel was a NetSpeed customer.
The purchase follows another acquisition intended to boost Intel’s SoC capabilities. In July, Intel announced plans to buy eASIC, a privately held programmable chip company based in Santa Clara, California. eASIC makes structured ASICs, which is an intermediary technology between the FPGAs and ASICs. FPGAs are ideal for cloud and IoT applications, and they will be critical for 5G networks.