The level of integration in communications chips is turning Broadcom and similar comms specialists into 'virtual asic' suppliers.
Henry Samueli, chief technology officer of Broadcom, told the Design Automation Conference that the need to incorporate increasing amounts of customer intellectual property (IP) has had a dramatic effect on the design methods his company uses.
"IC companies are becoming virtual asic vendors. We are taking customer IP and integrating that," said Samueli.
Because the company now has to support designs from external customers, Broadcom has had to bring in tools and systems to provide the kind of information that asic suppliers have traditionally provided.
"We need library characterisation engineers to create a flow that the customer views the same way as a traditional asic flow," Samueli said.
The company has brought in Web-based systems for exchanging library information and bug tracking. Broadcom is having to assimilate IP in a variety of forms from full-custom through to synthesised standard cell logic.