LONDON – FPGA vendor Xilinx Inc. has acquired Omiino Ltd. a Belfast telecommunications startup for an undisclosed amount, according to local reports. Xilinx follows AppliedMicro and Altera as an acquirer of companies that developed optical transport IP and implemented it in FPGAs.
Omiino (Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland) was formed in 2007 by engineers from such companies as Amphion Semiconductor, Flextronics and Nortel. In 2008 the company raised a seed funding round of £1.05 million (about $2.1 million) to be used for the development of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) programmed for use in telecommunications network equipment.
Omiino was one of a number of companies that used FPGAs from suppliers such as Xilinx and Altera which they then programmed and sold on to do specific functions in telecommunications where ASICs were becoming prohibitively expensive in the volumes required.
Omiino set out to produce framers and packet mappers for packet optical networks in the 10G, 20G and 40G and Ethernet segments. Omiino employs 16 people including co-founders Gary Hamilton, its chief executive officer, Mark Carson and Andrew Brown, according to an Irish Times report.
"We have worked very hard to develop this exciting technology and then bring it to market. It is good news for Xilinx because they will now be able to use that technology across whole families of products," the Irish Times quoted Hamilton as saying.
Applied Micro Circuits Corp., now called AppliedMicro (Sunnyvale, Calif.) acquired a similar company Tpack A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark) in 2010 for more than $32 million. Xilinx rival Altera Corp. acquired optical transport network IP provider Avalon Microelectronics Inc. (NMount Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada) in December 2010. The terms of that acquisition were not disclosed.
This is great move by Xilinx since Altera has already made an official announcement to include the optical transport into their FPGA's. It is wonderful to see there is so much to be done in the communications and networks.