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Intel today said it would buy the wireless assets of Mindspeed Technologies which makes wireless telecommunications silicon. Intel will get a wireless expertise in signal processing-related and IP for base stations in this acquisition.

The Intel deal is expected to close in February of next year. The rest of Mindspeed is being acquired by M/A Com.

Intel’s portion of the Mindspeed business includes chips for the front end of cellular networks, especially low-power radios used in small cells.

Intel is getting into the business of cloud-based cellular basestations, using their processors to do the signal processing. The so-called “Cloud RAN” approach enables smaller, cheaper cellular gear, about the size of a WiFi access point. It centralizes cellular basestations in a remote data center.

Traditional cellular networks are built with many stand-alone base stations (BTS). Intel is incorporating cellular signal processing on Intel-based servers — and collaborating with China Mobile and SK Telecom in Korea on designing Cloud Radio Access Network technologies that live in a data center.

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