Element 14 snatches Alcatel DSL designers

Element 14 snatches Alcatel DSL designersRoy Rubenstein
Cambridge start-up Element 14 has scored a major coup by securing Alcatel’s leading team of digital subscriber line (DSL) engineers. Alcatel is the world’s No.1 DSL supplier.
“We’ve taken their top-tier design capability in DSL,” Stan Boland, Element 14’s CEO told Electronics Weekly. These include Alcatel’s leading designers of analogue front-end and digital ICs, xDSL modem software and its specialists in asymmetric DSL (ADSL) and very high rate DSL (VDSL) systems. “We persuaded them that being part of a start-up is pretty attractive.”
“We employ 2,500 design engineers working on broadband access in Belgium,” was an Alcatel spokesman’s response. “It is not our aim to lose people but when you look at DSL technology, it is more than two or three people making it a success.”
The recruitment of DSL designers reflects a shift in focus by Element 14 which is now concentrating solely on broadband access communications ICs.
“You could say we are a late entrant but the market is in its infancy,” said Boland. “These things are going to be absolutely huge.”
Element 14 is currently developing a DSL chipset combining a digital IC based on its Firepath DSP core and an analogue front-end. “We are doing a two chipset solution initially,” said Boland. “What we are not saying is the port density, the flavours, the software capabilities or the power consumption.”
He would not even say whether the chipset is aimed at ADSL: “just DSL” was his comment. First samples are expected in the fourth quarter.
Element 14’s DSL team will be based at a DSL engineering design facility in Mechelen, Belgium, adding to its two sites in Cambridge and Bristol.

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