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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Redpine Signals: Disrupting the Wireless Industry

Vimali Swamy
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Vimali Swamy
Venkat Mattela is quite restless these days. Ten years after founding Redpine Signals, he is in a phase where he is going from a linear to a non linear approach. For he believes that it is when one goes non-linear in his approach, innovations and disruptions happen. In his case, it sure is true for early this year; Redpine brought out industry’s first simultaneous dual-band and high performance 450 Mbps 3x3 802.11n Chipset, to be used in Digital Home and Enterprise Applications. In layman’s terms, the 3x3 802.11n Chipset will allow everyday entertainment devices to connect to wi-fi, allow them to gain access to demanding video applications in crowded wireless environments, and significantly provide all this at zero cost and power overhead to the system.

“Consumers increasingly want to plug entertainment devices into their home Wi-Fi networks. This along with rapid adoption of Wi-Fi technology into the "Internet of Things" market, creates stringent QoS requirements, which are difficult to meet using single-band, or even switchable dual-band 802.11n solutions. Simultaneous dual-band provides the right answer to this problem and is the best approach to maintain high QoS for applications like wireless video distribution, while supporting regular web-browsing, email and FTP on the legacy 2.4GHz home Wi-Fi network,” says Flint Pulskamp, Research Director, Semiconductor Wireless and Consumer Programs, IDC, explaining the importance of Redpine’s achievement.

This is just one of the early steps in achieving Mattela’s vision of creating a thorough home grown wireless company that not only competes with the stalwarts like Broadcom and Qualcomm in the wireless arena but may also be a trendsetter in its own way. Some may think that Mattela is being too audacious with his dreams but people who know him can vouch there has never been anything audacious about any of his dreams.

In 2001, when he founded Redpine Signals, it was a time of upheaval in the IT industry as it saw both tremendous boom and bust. But despite the instability, Mattela along with a few very experienced technocrats, found immense opportunity in the VLSI, especially Wireless segment and subsequently founded the company. Apart from the instability, the market was also fiercely competitive, as there were about 100 other companies that got started to develop wireless chipset, specifically Wi-Fi. At that time, the opportunity was perceived very huge in the wireless space. Today looking back, sparing a few handfull, including Redpine, all others have vanished from the scenario. They either closed down or surrendered to large players, while Redpine is one of the few lone warriors going strong since its inception.

So what kept it going? According to Mattela, there are some important areas one needs to focus on when building a successful company; foremost being the underlying technology. Unlike the regular IT/ITeS space, in wireless industry one cannot survive in the market without having something new and unique to offer and developing this requires a strong technology as foundation. Redpine had its beginning during the 2001 dot com bust and the downturn gave it the luxury of time to develop its technology while keeping a very few key people in. Additionally, Mattela decided to carve a niche by developing high end wireless technology and came out with a portfolio of several industry firsts in low power chipsets.

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