duneChip maker Broadcom said it has agreed to buy Dune Networks for $178 million in cash. The communications chip maker is pouncing on a startup that makes a scalable networking chip set for communications equipment that connects computers inside corporate data centers.

They may not be sexy, gut these are the chips that make the Internet go faster, as they can transfer data between corporate computers known as servers at high speeds.

Dune Networks has developed a chip set that can handle data transfer speeds of 100 gigabits per second per port. It would be used in switching equipment for data centers with thousands of servers. The startup claims its chips can connect 10,000 servers in a single deployment. Broadcom’s Martin Lund, general manager of the company’s network switching chip business, said Dune’s product will complement Broadcom’s own line of Ethernet switching chips.

The deal is expected to close by the end of March. Investors in Dune include Alta Berkeley Venture Partners, Aurum-SBC Ventures, Evergreen Venture Partners, Jerusalem Ventures Partners, Pitango Venture Capital and US Ventures Partners. Dune was founded in 2000 and is based in Yakum, Israel, with U.S. offices in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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