Monday, September 7th 2020

AMD to Enter Network Hardware Market, Develop WiFi Controller Products with MediaTek

Intel has a dominating position over the client-segment 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 NIC controller market. The company's wireless NICs have a near monopoly over WLAN cards inside notebooks, including those powered by AMD processors. Intel further leverages its own brand NICs under the vPro feature-set, providing an end-to-end management solution covering even the NIC. AMD needs to change this, especially if it wants its PRO feature-set to match up to vPro.

AMD is planing to enter the network hardware segment by developing WLAN controllers of its own, which will power future generations of Ryzen processor-powered notebooks, including Ryzen PRO ones; and possible become a staple for desktop PC motherboard vendors on the AMD platform. To cut through the toughest part about coming up with new NICs - the web of IP, AMD has decided to partner with MediaTek, which manufactures mobile SoCs, and cellular MODEM chips, and has the required IP to make standalone WLAN controllers. The first AMD WLAN controllers could build on existing MediaTek IP blocks.
Source: DigiTimes
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22 Comments on AMD to Enter Network Hardware Market, Develop WiFi Controller Products with MediaTek

#1
Sykobee
I imagine the silicon will be used directly with an AMD branding on top, and AMD branded drivers, where necessary.
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#2
Rhein7
While at it, why not grabbed some IP on 5G connectivity please AMD?
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#3
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
So AMD is just going to be rebranding MediaTek adapters as their own.
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#4
qcmadness
newtekie1So AMD is just going to be rebranding MediaTek adapters as their own.
I think AMD will integrate the logic into its SoC
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#5
john_
Good move. They have to match Intel in what they can offer as a complete package to OEMs. They should collaborate with other manufacturers and bring back the Radeon brand on SSDs and RAMs.
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#7
TheLostSwede
mechtechstrange
How so?
Just like Nvidia sells bundled RAM with their GPUs to the OEMs, it makes sense to sell as many parts as possible when it comes to a laptop to the OEMs. Even more so if you can guarantee compatibility. It's also only one place to go for support, instead of having to work with several different companies that will blame each other.
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#8
thesmokingman
This has been in the works for some time now. What's ironic is that not too long ago AMD went after Mediatek of gpu IP infringement. I guess they settled and did a team up lol.
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#9
Totally
Seems like AMD was more salty about losing adreno to qualcomm than they let on and this seems like a move to correct that folly.
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#10
Octopuss
So they are not actually developing anything, right? Unless I am missing something.
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#11
Totally
OctopussSo they are not actually developing anything, right? Unless I am missing something.
They're making their own wlan products using Mediatek IP as a starting point just like how AMD got started with CPUs by licensing Intel IP to create their own cpus.
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#12
R0H1T
TotallyAMD got started with CPUs by licensing Intel IP to create their own cpus.
I'm not sure that's how AMD started, I could be wrong though :ohwell:
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#13
windwhirl
thesmokingmanI guess they settled and did a team up lol.
Never heard how that ended. Apparently one of the patent claims (of three) was axed relatively recently (beginnings of June), don't know what happened with the rest...
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#14
biffzinker
R0H1TI'm not sure that's how AMD started, I could be wrong though :ohwell:
For x86 AMD started out making copies of Intel CPU's, later moved on to reverse engineering when Intel wouldn't share, and finally there own x86 CPU design (K5.)
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#15
Foobario
R0H1TI'm not sure that's how AMD started, I could be wrong though :ohwell:
Actually, that is exactly got started. IBM forced Intel to provide a second source of processors.

Initially, AMD created clones of Intel products. Intel then started blocking IP (illegally) and AMD had to come up with their own designs. Soon, thereafter, AMD was matching and eventually outperforming Intel's offerings.
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#16
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
FoobarioInitially, AMD created clones of Intel products. Intel then started blocking IP (illegally) and AMD had to come up with their own designs. Soon, thereafter, AMD was matching and eventually outperforming Intel's offerings.
And Don't forget Intel was dragged back to the IP negotiating Table by AMD and the x64 instruction set.
cross licencing deals Between AMD and Intel Had the Effect of legally Blocking all those other Chip makers with a x86 Licence from Future Development.
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#17
TechLurker
It'd be great to see some routers and network switches using AMD-based hardware, if only to help bring the competition to those areas. Maybe if we're lucky, AMD could leapfrog to 5GbE networking, surging past Intel's more modest 2.5GbE upgrade, in parallel with their eventual push to DDR5, "AM5", and 5000 Series CPUs.
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#18
R-T-B
newtekie1So AMD is just going to be rebranding MediaTek adapters as their own.
I wonder if they will thumb their nose at the GPL like Mediatek does?
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#19
Xajel
TotallyThey're making their own wlan products using Mediatek IP as a starting point just like how AMD got started with CPUs by licensing Intel IP to create their own cpus.
Actually no, AMD entered the microprocessor market in 1975, and in 1976 they entered a licensing agreement with Intel.

Intel created the first x86 in 1978, and AMD made the technology exchange agreement for the x86 in 1981, which also extended the original 1976 agreement.
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#20
SingularitE
I just shake my head seeing news like these licensing partnerships of AMD with ASMedia, Mediatek. It's always about desperate moves to catch up because AMD didn't do it right at the right time and then doing something 2nd best.

The "end-to-end management solution" is the name of the game and was always low priority on AMD's agenda, even after developing their own CPUs 25 years ago. The ATI buyout was supposed to be the solution but instead it was just an expensive GPU IP. Stable chipsets (with RAID) and LAN/WLAN networking are just as important for OEMs.

First AMD licensed VIA chipsets for K6 and K7. Then K8 (Opteron) launched with the first AMD chipset (8000 series) but it was only a "demo" and not developed further. nForce was strong and quickly became the best, and there were lots of other chipsets: VIA, ULi/ALi(nVidia), SiS, and later ATI(AMD) being the worst. Fast forward 10 years and AMD dropped the in-house design and licensed ASMedia chipsets for Zen (X570 with ASMedia IP).

LAN/WLAN IP have Intel, Broadcom, Atheros(Qualcomm), Ralink(Mediatek) and Realtek. I'm surprised AMD didn't license Realtek... but seriously, why not Broadcom or Atheros, their former partners?
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#21
Totally
XajelActually no, AMD entered the microprocessor market in 1975
With the Am9080, a reverse-engineered Intel 8080 clone. What is it that you are refuting?
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#22
mechtech
TheLostSwedeHow so?
Just like Nvidia sells bundled RAM with their GPUs to the OEMs, it makes sense to sell as many parts as possible when it comes to a laptop to the OEMs. Even more so if you can guarantee compatibility. It's also only one place to go for support, instead of having to work with several different companies that will blame each other.
I don't disagree, just already many vendors, Intel, Realtek, Broadcom, etc. all well established.
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