Overseen by Intel's Network Equipment Division, the work on the acceleration boards is designed to give them the ability to inspect the content of data packets and provide dramatic improvements in Web service performance, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
Products resulting from the research are expected from Intel by the end of this year.
Intel representatives acknowledged the efforts of its Network Equipment Division in general, saying the group works under a broad charter.
"We do indeed have operations in San Diego. The group is chartered with being a provider of building block technology - based on Intel Architecture - in the communications market segment that offers content intelligent network control capabilities for inline packet/message classification, prioritisation, metering, and acceleration," explained Tracey Lempner, an Intel representative in California, USA.
Despite Intel's position as a leading manufacturer of computer microprocessors, experts view the existence of its network equipment division as added proof that the chip-maker intends to be a player in the communication silicon space when the currently ailing market recovers.
"Intel has a very credible and growing line of processors that are targeting networking applications," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64 in Saratoga, California. "It's still a small percentage of Intel's overall revenues, and as far as I know they're still losing money at it. But everybody who sells chips into the communication sector is losing money this year."
"But Intel's approach to market doldrums is 'we'll continue to develop new products,'" said Brookwood.