Alcatel-Lucent is furthering its strategy of partnering with specialist chip companies by teaming up with Freescale Semiconductor to develop a new breed of converged network access products.
As part of its strategy to focus on IP and cloud developments, the vendor has brokered two key chip partner relationships during the past 16 months: with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) for the development of next-generation multi-mode small cells; and with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) for the development of carrier-grade server technology that can support NFV implementations and high-speed packet processing. (See AlcaLu, Qualcomm Prep Multimode Small Cells, AlcaLu's Small Cell Menu: Stake and Chips and Alcatel-Lucent announces global collaboration with Intel to speed industry move to cloud.)
CEO Michel Combes, who has been instrumental in turning Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) around since he took the helm in 2013, says he "changed the DNA" of the company in the way it approached and dealt with partnerships. "There is no more reluctance to go deep with partners," he noted during his presentation at the vendor's Technology Symposium in Basking Ridge, N.J., this week.
So now it is extending its existing and long-standing relationship with Freescale Semiconductor Inc. by instigating a new joint research project to "virtualize Layers 2 and 3 for fixed and wireless," the CEO noted.
The R&D project is part of AlcaLu's new Network 2020 program to develop new technologies that are "game-changers," noted the vendor's CTO Marcus Weldon, who is also president of Bell Labs. Under a "Future X" project called "Future Remote," the partners will aim to develop a universal, virtualized programmable access node that can be either a fixed or wireless access platform.
The two companies have worked closely together before, on fixed access products and more recently to develop a system-on-a-chip (SoC) for AlcaLu's lightRadio wireless small cells. (See AlcaLu's lightRadio Set for Early 2012 Debut and Alcatel-Lucent, Freescale Team.)
CEO Combes believes such relationships give his company an advantage over rivals. "Others are partnering with other [system] vendors," whereas AlcaLu is working hand-in-hand with the components companies that are developing the foundations of next-generation network platforms, he told Light Reading on the sidelines of the event.
The Qualcomm and Intel partnerships have yielded results quite quickly -- Intel was instrumental in the development of Alcatel-Lucent's virtual router developments, for example -- but the timescales around the "Future Remote" project are not currently being shared. (See Alcatel-Lucent Joins Virtual Router Race.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading