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Intel acquires another firm as IXA mycelium spreads

Makes fresh acquisition -- updated

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Intel Developer Forum Intel announced this morning it has brought another networking company, Netboost, as part of its move to become a leader in the networking market. At the same time, Intel will roll out its IXA architecture and proudly announce its network chip, the IXP 1200. These details were leaked out by two US publications at the end of last week, and Chipzilla is furious about this. Netboost specialises in infrastructure including VPNs (virtual private networks) and RMON. And watch out for WindRiver's share price today. As we reported earlier, its real time operating system is getting to be pervasive. It's not only at the heart of System IO, formerly known as Future IO and NGIO, but it's also to be found in the new marchitecture that corporate vice president Mark Christensen is currently outlining. The Intel Internet Exchange Architecture (IXA) offers five levels of components in both Lans and Wans, Christensen told us yesterday. It, and the sexily named IXP 1200 which will cost around $200, will appear in products for small to medium sized businesses up to terabit routers. Customers are giants like Cisco, Nortel and Lucent, and if Intel is successful in selling to these type of customers, IXA will spread across the global network in a similar way to how fungal mycelium gets everywhere. Its IXA architecture will even reach into the carrier clouds, said Miner. Intel will licence the IXA spex to all and sundry, but will keep the intellectual property rights of the component based architecture, he said. Christensen said that the sexily named IXP 1200 will replace the more expensive custom ASICs normally used in network equipment. Intel will put up $200 million in the form of an investment fund for startups who want to jump onto the IXA bandwagon. Each of the "building blocks" which are part of the IXA has different competitors, he said. The control engine of the sexily named IXP 1200 has a StrongARM core, while it includes support for the PCI bus and also has a new IX bus, which allows multiple devices to be used in parallel. The business will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, he predicted. But we can't help thinking that if IXA takes off, the building blocks will be a bit like fungal mycelium, and will pervade every part of the Internet rapidly, giving Intel unprecedented control of the worldwide network. Mycelium is the underlying infrastructure of what crop up as toadstools and mushrooms. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage

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