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Updated: Intel buys Rivet Networks and its Killer Networking brand to beef up its Wi-Fi tech

Intel said Wednesday that it has acquired Rivet Networks, and will integrate the company’s Killer Networking line of Wi-Fi networking products into its own wireless portfolio.

Intel didn’t disclose the purchase price of the Killer portfolio of ethernet controllers, wireless chips, and management software that will become part of Intel’s product lineup. Intel did say that Rivet would become part of the Wireless Solutions Group within Intel’s Client Computing Group, and that Intel will continue to license its Killer software to customers.

The acquisition does expand the conversation around Intel’s CPUs to the level of an entire platform. Though Intel’s Core i9-10900K may be the world’s fastest desktop gaming CPU at the moment, Intel is facing intense pressure from AMD in both the desktop and especially the mobile markets—the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U notebook CPU outperforms Intel’s H-series gaming chips. Historically, Intel’s reaction has been to emphasize other aspects of the platform, and the Rivet acquisition helps achieve that.

Making Intel’s Wi-Fi a killer product

Though Killer’s products encompass both ethernet networking and Wi-Fi (including combining the two for even greater bandwidth), it appears Intel sees the acquisition as a benefit primarily for its wireless business. In a blog post, Intel described Rivet’s purchase as a “terrific complement to our existing Wi-Fi products and helps us further our vision of delivering PC platforms that power every person’s greatest contribution.”

Eric McLaughlin, vice president of the Intel Client Computing Group and general manager of its Wireless Solutions Group, went a bit further, as part of a followup interview. McLaughlin said that Intel will continue to sell both the Killer lines of wired and wireless controllers, and that the technology would be broadly applicable to both consumers, business, and commercial lines. The first products should be integrated into Intel’s portfolio later this year, he said.

The Killer-Intel combination already appears in recent notebooks like the massive Dell XPS 17, so combining the two appears to be a natural evolution. When Killer launched its AX1650 Wi-Fi network card last year, the company said that between the new Wi-Fi 6 technology and its own software, gamers could see up to three times “better” in-game latency than with a standard Wi-Fi chip, and up to a 5X improvement in video streaming. 

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