Cisco Jumps Into WiMAX With Navini Deal

WiMAX wireless

Cisco said in a statement that the move will expand its wireless portfolio, which already includes Wi-Fi and wireless mesh products, and enable the company to address the rapidly growing market for broadband wireless services.

WiMAX, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is an IP technology used by carriers to provide last mile wireless broadband access.

Navini, Richardson, Tex., touts itself as a provider of "personal broadband," offering mobile wireless broadband connectivity to people wherever they go vs. only to a building. The vendor's portfolio includes the Ripwave MX line of basestations, antenna systems and wireless cards. The company has sold its wares to more than 75 customers.

In particular, Cisco's push into WiMAX will be aimed at emerging markets that are just beginning to build out their Internet infrastructure.

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"Emerging country service providers are in expansion mode, building out broadband wireless networks and are concerned about deployment costs and the availability of skilled resources," said Brett Galloway, vice president and general manager of the Wireless Networking Business Unit at Cisco, in the statement. "Around the world broadband wireless networks based upon WiMAX have the potential to add millions of new Internet users who cannot be reached economically using copper or fiber infrastructures."

The telecommunications agency of the United Nations last week blessed WiMAX by adding it to its specifications for third-generation worldwide mobile standards. The technology can move data at speeds of up to 70 Mbps across 40 miles. WiMAX has been vociferously backed by vendors such as Intel vs. competitive technologies such as Ultra Mobile Broadband from Qualcomm and Long Term Evolution from Ericsson.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $330 million in cash and assumed options in a deal expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's 2008 fiscal year. Cisco plans to integrate Navini into its Wireless Networking Business Unit, under the Ethernet and Wireless Technology Group.