Aquantia to Sell Its 5G and 10G Network Cards for $59 and $69 on Black Friday

Aquantia to Sell Its 5G and 10G Network Cards for $59 and $69 on Black Friday

Aquantia got a lot of positive publicity this year with its relatively inexpensive 5G and 10G network cards, which brought multi-gigabit Ethernet down to around $100, making them some two-to-three times cheaper than earlier NICs. On Black Friday, the company is going to slash prices of its cards even further to $59 – $69 per unit, making these the cheapest multi-gigabit NICs to date.

Aquantia’s AQN-107 and AQN-108 network cards are based on the company’s AQC107 (10 GbE) and AQC108 (5 GbE) multi-gigabit network controllers. The more affordable AQN-108 card uses a PCIe 3.0 x1 interface and supports various BASE-T standards, including 100M, 1G, 2.5G and 5G over an RJ45 connector using Cat5e/Cat6 cabling. The more advanced AQN-107 card features a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface and supports all of the aforementioned standards as well as 10G. The cards are compatible with various contemporary and legacy PCs running Windows 7/8/10 or Linux 3.2/3.6/4.2/4.4.

On Black Friday, November 24, the Aquantia AQtion AQN-108 5G NIC will be sold for $59, down from its regular price of $99. The AQtion AQN-107 10G NIC will be available for an $69, down from $127 regularly. This promotion is only going to work with Aquantia’s international distributors — Arrow, WPGA and WPI, but not regular retailers (see direct links to the cards on websites of the said companies in the table below).

Aquantia AQtion Multi-Gigabit NICs
Card AQN-107 AQN-108
Controller AQC-107 AQC-108
100BASE-T Yes Yes
1000BASE-T Yes Yes
2.5GBASE-T Yes Yes
5GBASE-T Yes Yes
10GBASE-T Yes No
Ports 1 1
MSRP $127 $99
Black Friday Promo Price $69 $59
Buy from Distributors Arrow

It is not unusual for various companies to sell their products at bargain prices on Black Friday, however such a deep discount on a recently launched product is a bit more atypical. Keeping in mind that the AQN-107 and AQN-108 network cards were released only several months ago and are up to date (and you do not expect NIC developers to introduce new models every year), it is clear that $59 – $69 per unit are price points that Aquantia is comfortable with, and that this isn’t a Black Friday close-out sale. It’s probably a bit premature to make predictions regarding future retail prices of Aquantia-based multi-gigabit network adapters from partners like ASUS and GIGABYTE (who want to earn on their products), but it is safe to say that the multi-gig cards can get cheaper than they are now.

While multi-gigabit Ethernet cards for $59 – $69 look very affordable (by today’s standards), multi-gigabit switches still remain rather expensive. We have been monitoring pricing and availability of 10 GbE-supporting switches at leading U.S. retailers for several months now and it turns out that the least expensive model is still the ASUS XG-U2008 10GBase-T (two 10 GbE ports, eight GbE connectors) that is available for $220 from Amazon and Newegg. Perhaps, Black Friday will bring some sweeter deals.

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Marvell to Acquire Cavium for $5.5 Billion, Augmenting Marvell's CPU, Networking, & Security Assets

Marvell to Acquire Cavium for $5.5 Billion, Augmenting Marvell’s CPU, Networking, & Security Assets

Marvell and Cavium on Monday announced that they had reached a definitive buyout agreement. Under the terms of the transaction, Marvell will acquire all outstanding shares of Cavium for around $5.5 billion in cash and stock. Boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the deal. The deal in turn will see Marvell acquire Cavium assets that cover a number of businesses and technologies, including CPUs, networking, multimedia, security, and other chips. Marvell hopes that the combined company will have the a product portfolio to enable future growth.

Marvell will pay $84.15 ($40 in cash and 2.1757 of its shares) for each Cavium share, which represents an 11% premium over the price of a Cavium share according to Reuters. The ratio was based on a price of $80 per share, using Marvell’s undisturbed price prior to November 3, when media reports of the transaction emerged, the two companies said. In total, Marvell will pay around $5.5 billion for outstanding shares of Cavium and will absorb Cavium’s debt of approximately $637.6 million, which will bring the value of the transaction to over $6 billion. Marvell plans to finance the cash payment with a combination of cash from the combined companies and $1.75 billion in debt financing from various banks. After the deal is completed, Cavium’s shareholders will own 25% of the combined company. Meanwhile, Cavium’s co-founder and CEO Syed Ali will join the board of directors of Marvell, whereas another co-founder Raghib Hussain and vice president of IC engineering Anil Jain will join Marvell’s leadership team.

Marvell is mostly known for its storage controllers – including chips for HDDs, SSDs, and RAID – networking components, as well as wireless connectivity solutions. Storage ICs accounted for roughly a half of Marvell’s revenue in the recent years. Meanwhile, as unit shipments of hard drives started to decrease several years ago, so did sales of controllers for HDDs and RAID equipment. Furthermore, sales of other products from Marvell dropped too. As a result, the company’s revenue decreased from $3.637 billion in FY2015 (ended on January 31, 2015) to $2.318 billion in FY2017 (ended on January 28, 2017). Marvell lost $811.4 million in FY2016, but it was profitable for four out of the most recent fiscal years.

The company that Marvell plans to acquire looks completely differently. Cavium is a developer of ARM and MIPS-based SoCs for network, video, security, storage connectivity, server and other applications. Throughout the last eight years, the company has acquired seven companies in a bid to expand its product portfolio. Cavium’s revenues have been increasing rapidly — from nearly $373 million in FY2014 (ended on December 31, 2014) to $603.3 million in FY2016 (ended on December 31, 2016). However, Cavium has not been profitable for the last five years, a troubling situation for investors and the Cavium board.

Marvell and Cavium at a Glance
All data as of November 20, 2017
  Marvell Cavium
Market Capitalization $10.58 billion $5.76 billion
Revenue per Fiscal Year (recent) $2.318 billion $603.3 million
Profit/Loss per Fiscal Year
$21.151 million -$147.2 million
Total Cash $1.57 billion $127.06 million
Total Debt $637.6 million
Headcount 5,000+ 1831
Revenue Split (recent FY) Storage $1.158 billion Enterprise, datacenter,
and service provider
$568.8 million
Networking $590 million
Connectivity $318million Broadband and
consumer markets
$34.5 million
Other $252 million
Additional information, data sources 1, 2, 3 1, 2

With a market cap of over $10.5 billion, $1.57 billion in cash on its accounts in the U.S., and over 5000 employees worldwide, Marvell is certainly bigger than Cavium, whose capitalization is $5.76 billion and headcount is approximately 1800. Moreover, unlike Cavium, Marvell is making a profit. The two companies now believe that the combined entity with its complementary product portfolio will be able to better serve existing customers both now and in the long-term future.

The two companies mention their long-term future for a reason. They key asset that Marvell will get with the acquisition is Cavium’s portfolio of CPUs/SoCs as well as appropriate IP and development teams. In the coming years the expected serviceable addressable market for CPUs and specialized SoCs will grow. In particular, low-power CPUs will be needed for 5G base stations and other emerging applications. Cavium already has custom ThunderX SoCs for servers and telecom equipment, so Marvell will need to develop them further to gain in the future. Besides, with a broad portfolio of products, Marvell will be able to create more comprehensive solutions for customers of the combined company, thus getting more revenue and profits from every client.

Marvell and Cavium expect the transaction to close in mid-2018, depending on approvals from regulators and some other conditions. The two companies believe the acquisition to generate at least $150 to $175 million of annual run-rate synergies within 1.5 years after the deal is closed.

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Netgear Launches Orbi Pro Wi-Fi System Kit for SMBs

Netgear Launches Orbi Pro Wi-Fi System Kit for SMBs

Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi system has emerged as one of the leading mesh / Wi-Fi systems in the market in terms of performance. The platform, with its FastLane 3 marketing moniker, was recently introduced into the range extender market also (with the Nighthawk X6S EX8000). Today, Netgear is bringing tri-band Wi-Fi to the SMB market in the form of the Orbi Pro.

The Orbi Pro (SRK60) is essentially the same as the high-end Orbi (RBK50) for the consumer market – That implies an AC3000-class router, with a 4×4 dedicated backhaul link, and one 2×2 5 GHz and one 2×2 2.4 GHz radios at each node. The target market is small businesses that don’t have dedicated IT staff. The setup process, like that for the consumer version, has been made simple enough for DIY installs (unlike most other business-targeted solutions). Managementis through an app, though, a web server is also available as part of the traditional router management model.

In order to better serve the target market, the Orbi Pro makes the following changes compared to the high-end Orbi for consumers:

  • Altered industrial design to blend in with business surroundings, with the ability to mount on the wall or ceiling (no PoE support, though).
  • Removal of the USB port from the system, as it doesn’t make much sense for business use-cases
  • Tweaked firmware with specific features for business use-cases.

The primary difference in the firmware compared to the RBK50 is the presentation of three different SSIDs out of the box – one for administration, one for employees, and another for guests. The LAN ports (3 on the router, and 4 on the satellite) are part of the administration network. The networks are isolated from each other, with the guest network carrying typical options such as restricted time allotment for clients, a captive portal for allowing access etc.

Netgear intends the system to be used for scenarios with up to 40 simultaneous devices. The SRK60 will become available next month and have a MSRP of $500.