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Switching away from asics

Hard times in the communications industry are opening the doors for assp suppliers. By Graham Pitcher.

Towards the end of the 1990s, the telecommunications industry was the place to be. The boom in data communications traffic – spurred by a proliferation of dot com businesses – meant there was heavy demand for the various pieces of equipment that routed data to its destination.

Historically, the major telecommunications companies have maintained a proprietary approach to their businesses. They designed equipment themselves, put heavy emphasis on custom solutions and, in some cases, maintained the facilities to actually make components.

But that, as they say, was then. The bursting of the dot com bubble has left communications companies around the world staring forlornly at the red ink on their balance sheets. The red ink has brought about a sea change in the way these companies are developing products for the future. Many leading companies have forsaken the custom asic route in favour of application specific standard products and a number of specialist providers – often with their heritage in one or more comms major – are meeting needs.

One such company is Ottawa based Galazar Networks. This fabless semiconductor company has just launched its first product and is looking to cash in on a perceived increase in demand for high speed Ethernet communications over fibre optic networks. In fact Galazar claims most optical traffic is currently transported by products that its staff were instrumental in defining, architecting, implementing, testing and supporting.

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Graham Pitcher

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