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Cisco borgs Navini Networks

All-devouring switch firm makes its WiMAX move

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Cisco is buying a plot in the WiMAX space with the $330m cash purchase of Navini Networks.

Navini brings a portfolio of "Smart WiMAX" products and technologies, such as subscriber modems, base stations, adaptive antenna arrays and management systems.

WiMAX is a wireless-internet technology with a far greater range than Wi-Fi. Cisco expects it to play a key role in its "Connected Life" vision to bring ubiquitous service to any device over a network. WiMAX also has promise to bring the internet to emerging markets, where little to no network infrastructure exists.

Rumors had been circulating for some time that Cisco was getting serious about making a WiMAX infrastructure acquisition, with Navini among the top choices of likely buys. While the startup lacks the substantial proprietary customer base of some other WiMAX vendors, the acquisition has the potential to give Cisco a headstart in emerging platforms embraced by Navini, such as MIMO, beamforming and mobile IP.

Navini's employees and assets will be consumed into its Wireless Networking Business Unit. The WNBU is currently home to Cisco's Wi-Fi operations, led by the Linksys Wi-Fi portfolio.

Under the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $330m in cash and assumed options. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's 2008 fiscal year.

For those keeping score, the Navini purchase is acquisition number 124 for Cisco. ®

(An actually informative) Bootnote

Multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) is a technology that uses multiple antennas at the transmitter and receiver to improve performance.

Beamforming is a signal processing technique that can increase a receiver's sensitivity in the direction of wanted signals, and decrease the sensitivity in the direction of interference.

Mobile IP allows a mobile device to move from one network to another while maintaining a permanent IP address.

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