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October - 2012 - issue > CIO Insights
Envisioning to be at the forefront of Next-Gen Process Technology
Rajiv Ramaswami
Executive Vice President & General Manager - Infrastructure and Networking Group-Broadcom
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Rajiv Ramaswami serves as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's Infrastructure and Networking Group. Founded in 1991, Broadcom (BRCM :NASDAQ) is a global innovator and leader in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. In this role Ramaswami is responsible for all Ethernet controller, switching and physical layer products, optical solutions, storage products, security and embedded processors. The group's products and technologies are targeted to enterprise, service provider and data center markets. End products offered by this group include Ethernet controllers for notebooks, desktops and servers; storage silicon solutions; and physical layer devices, optical solutions, switches, security and embedded processors for Layer 2 to Layer 7 switches, routers and security appliances - equipment that delivers and manages the flow of voice, video and data services within and across networks.

Ramaswami joined Broadcom in 2010 after serving as Vice President and General Manager of the Cloud Services and Switching Technology Group at Cisco Systems, Inc. Prior to joining Cisco, he served in various technical and leadership positions at Xros, Tellabs and IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center and holds 33 U.S. patents primarily in optical networking, and has coauthored a textbook, "Optical Networks: A Practical Perspective.". In a candid chat with Ramaswami, we explore the trends that Broadcom has been following and how he is aligning his team to meet the grand goal for Broadcom.

Broadcom’s role in new times

As employees around the world replace their desktops and laptops with mobile devices, network managers are seeking new ways to provision, secure and control enterprise computing resources and information access to keep employees connected – regardless of their location. Broadcom’s new solutions for the modern workforce (aka Enterprise 2.0) bring the innovation Broadcom is known for in the data center and service provider networks to enterprise networks, enabling seamless wireless and wired connectivity.

For the business person or end user specifically, Broadcom’s chips deliver secure and fast connections, effortless streaming video, and easy access to cloud based applications, regardless of whether users are connecting into the network through wireless devices such as notebooks, smart phones and tablets, or traditional wired desktops. In short, it means a better overall experience when connecting with the corporate network.

Trends I foresee

Enterprises continue to work on improving their ability to provide a seamless user experience regardless of what device or means the user is connecting to the network. For instance today, users have to deal with separate authentication mechanisms for their wired and wireless networks. Furthermore enterprises continue to deploy more and more, higher capacity wireless, with the new 802.11ac standard offering gigabit speeds comparable to wired desktops. Broadcom is the market leader in both switching technology and wireless LAN technology, allowing us to deliver on a combined high-performance wired/wireless access network for enterprise users.

Another emerging trend is Software Defined Networking (SDN), an important technology that redefines how networks are managed and configured, and provides a platform by which the network can be programmed to provide services to networks. In the coming months and years, enterprises are going to need to be more adaptable and flexible, and emerging network architectures like SDN will provide the necessary centralized control.

It’s a fascinating opportunity that Broadcom has pioneered for years (through the Open Networking Foundation) and will continue to support with products that are SDN-enabled and friendly so that we provide solutions that allow them to flourish. Our goal is to make the network control programmable, making the underlying network appear as a logical entity, making the programmable interface accessible on computing devices in a centralized way, enabling network virtualization and better visualization of the network.

Creating a robust Network Infrastructure

Broadcom is definitely seeing content consumption driving traffic growth – in fact, there’s been 100 percent CAGR since 1990. With the number of devices connected to IP networks set to exceed 2x the global population in 2015, this demand will create a real challenge.

As smartphone and tablet sales increase, new devices are proliferating and show no signs of stopping; service providers are under pressure to keep pace with traffic growth. Broadcom’s opportunity lies in helping our customers deliver more bandwidth, functionality and board space while reducing system costs and power consumption. As carriers around the world roll out 3G and now 4G technologies, they are faced with a dramatic overhaul of their mobile infrastructure, including base stations, backhaul, as well as their aggregation and core networks. Broadcom’s chips power the equipment deployed across the entire carrier network.

Driving IP creation across different Portfolios

Broadcom strongly believes that the true technology innovation is collaboration and the sharing of intellectual property with colleagues and other industry visionaries—and it is a message that starts with Broadcom co-founder and CTO Henry Samueli and resonates throughout the organization. Our IP portfolio has more than 16,800 U.S. and foreign patents.

IP creation and sharing is alive and well within Broadcom. In fact, leveraging existing IP from the company’s own broad portfolio of engineering expertise is as easy as logging on to a centralized portal. We have unique and efficient system for IP sharing and unified design flows through its centralized engineering organization and IP library. This unified design approach encourages collaboration across business units, eliminates areas of potential overlap, dramatically reduces engineering costs and time-to-market, and provides the company with a powerfully competitive advantage.

Broadcom’s substantial technology expertise in India specifically has resulted in more than 200 patent applications with the U.S. PTO and contributions to worldwide industry standards bodies. This India-developed IP is leveraged across global SoCs and has contributed to many technology firsts. India is both an important R&D center as well as end market for our products. Our presence in India continues to grow and now represents more than 10 percent of our corporate headcount with more than 1,000 employees in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai. India represents the largest R&D team outside of the U.S. Our operations in India are already contributing powerful innovations to Broadcom’s patent portfolio.

Business opportunities

As we discussed, Indian telcos are served through our customers, both Global and Local OEMs. We also engage directly with telcos, as we strongly believe that understanding the end market requirements and pain points is critical in designing the right products with the right feature set.

Service providers around the globe are racing to transform their mobile networks to fulfill consumer appetite for more and more bandwidth. Indian carriers must significantly upgrade their entire mobile infrastructure as they roll out 4G and expand 3G services. This includes macro base stations, backhaul networks, including microwave backhaul —, for which India is one of the world’s largest markets, as well as aggregation and core networks, all of which needs to be optimized for increased data traffic with Ethernet/IP connectivity. The transition to full IP capability with compatibility to existing networks is one of the major pain points for the Indian telcos, and Broadcom offers the industry’s broadest portfolio of end-to-end solutions to power the network transformation. We recognize the value of the innovation happening in India, see impressive products rolling out from both Indian OEMs and Indian units of Global OEMs. We engage and support many local players, such as Tejas Networks.

Another milestone in the evolution of Indian Telecom industry is the formation of Indian standard organization DOSTI , which will allow Indian OEMs and telcos to have a voice in global telecom standards. Broadcom is committed to supporting the DOSTI objective and actively participating in the organization’s charter.

Vision set for the Team

We want to transform the network with the industry’s broadest portfolio of innovative, end-to-end high performance silicon and software solutions. Our growth strategy is based on a profound commitment to expanding our footprint and addressable market. In India and beyond, we strive to be at the forefront of next-generation process technology and integration with an IP portfolio unsurpassed in strength and breadth—and will continue marching forward toward that goal.

(As told to Christo Jacob)
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