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Broadcom: A Major Player in the Semiconductor Segment

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Overview of the company

Broadcom (BRCM) is a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. The company has a portfolio of integrated SoC (system-on-a-chip) solutions that help deliver voice, video, data, and multimedia connectivity for both home and business applications.

Broadcom’s business is structured around two reportable segments:

  1. Broadband and Connectivity
  2. Infrastructure and Networking

Broadcom’s portfolio is largely complementary with Avago (AVGO). They serve many of the same customers. Other major players in the semiconductor segment include Intel (INTC), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Micron (MU).

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Broadband and Connectivity

Broadband and Connectivity accounted for about two-thirds of Broadcom’s revenue in 2014. It consists of the following major products and solutions:

  • Set-Top boxes – generally for cable TV providers. Broadcom includes additional features like transcoding, digital video recording functionality, higher definition, increased networking capabilities, and more tuners to enable faster channel change and more simultaneous recordings.
  • Broadband modem – broadband access technologies including DSL, cable, and fiber
  • Connectivity solutions – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC (near field communication) solutions for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and related peripherals, wireless home routers and gateways, printers, handheld media devices, home gaming systems, smart TVs and connected set-top boxes, and a range of wearable and connected devices including watches and glasses, smoke alarms, and thermostats
  • Other broadband and connectivity solutions – small cell or femtocell solutions, location—GPS, and touch controllers

Infrastructure and Networking

Infrastructure and Networking accounted for 30% of the revenue in 2014. It includes Ethernet switches, copper and optical transceivers, backplane, and optical front-end physical layer devices, processors, and other infrastructure and networking technologies.

  • Ethernet switches – switching products for service provider networks, data center implementations, and enterprise and small-and-medium businesses. These solutions run the gamut from basic five port switch chips to complete solutions enabling in excess of 400 terabits per second of switching capacity in a multi-chassis configuration.
  • Ethernet copper transceivers – digital signal processing communication architecture optimized for high-speed network connections
  • Automotive Ethernet – the connected automobile—a trend that’s growing
  • Multicore Communications processor – used in building current and next-generation server, storage, data networking, and wireless equipment

The company accounts for 0.76% of the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) and 5.07% of the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH).

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