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Intel’s Barefoot acquisition fills a critical gap in its end-to-end 5G platform

Intel is to buy Barefoot Networks, in a bid to fill a gaping hole in its portfolio, for strong Ethernet switch-chips. The company was clear, in conversations at Mobile World Congress this year, that it needed to assemble an end-to-end platform if it was to dominate cloud infrastructure and, in particular, the increasingly cloudified 5G network. It has been putting together many elements, through internal development or acquisition, for this 5G infrastructure play, including the purchase of Altera for its FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) and of eASIC. Both of these provide technology to surround the core x86 processors and accelerate specialized and highly demanding cloud and 5G workloads. But Intel identified one of its main weaknesses, in this end-to-end…

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