Qualcomm buys 'small cell' provider DesignArt Networks

Qualcomm acquires DesignArt Networks as it pushes forward to add more capacity to mobile networks

Chip maker Qualcomm on Thursday said it had acquired DesignArt Networks, a company based in Israel that designs small cells to boost mobile capacity on cellular networks.

DesignArt offers small-cell base station and modem designs that will fit in with Qualcomm's wireless connectivity products, which include 4G LTE and Wi-Fi chips and base stations, Qualcomm said. Existing spectrum is under stress from the growing use of mobile devices, and small cells should help solve that problem by forming a distributed network of cells the size of Wi-Fi access points on places like lamp posts and the sides of buildings to add capacity.

Qualcomm declined to disclose the amount it paid for DesignArt Networks. The company already provides wired and wireless technologies used by carriers in base stations. DesignArt's small-cell designs, which are designed to work with LTE networks, will enable the "proliferation of indoor and outdoor small cells" to expand capacity, Qualcomm said.

Small cells are still considered expensive to deploy, and the acquisition will help Qualcomm provide technology for wireless carriers to deploy small cells in a cost-effective manner, the company said.

Qualcomm also makes chips and modems that are used in smartphones and tablets. Some models of the company's latest Snapdragon S4 processor integrate a CPU and modem on a single chip.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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