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Johanne Torres[November 16, 2004]

Motorola to Acquire WiFi Developer MeshNetworks


Fueling the emerging trend of developing mobile cellular/WiFi hybrid calling devices, Motorola Inc. (quote - news - alert) announced its plan to acquire MeshNetworks Inc. (news - alert), a WiFi-based technology developer. The deal would surely aid Motorola’s effort to launch mobile devices that roam seamlessly between cellular and WiFi networks without interrupting the caller’s conversations. Both companies plan to complete the purchase deal before the end of the year.

Motorola and MeshNetworks had worked together in the past—both companies had a customer-investor relationship. Motorola currently licenses MeshNetworks' MeshConnex software for 802.11 wireless LANs and distributes the MeshNetworks Enabled Architecture product line. Motorola Ventures, the investment arm of Motorola, is an investor in MeshNetworks. Through the planned acquisition, Motorola will now count with seventy added employees, and contracted law enforcement and civil defense government agency accounts from MeshNetworks.

Four-year-old MeshNetworks was founded in Maitland, FL. In addition to creating mobile networks, the company also develops broadband radio and position-location technologies. The developer’s technology, also known as ad hoc networking, was first developed in the military and has grown popular among contingency dispatchers due to the flexibility it provides in confronting different unexpected events.

Following the 9/11 catastrophe, emergency personnel’s need for better uninterrupted communication and locality access have been key factors pushing forward most device developments. Devices using an ad hoc network like Mesh’s, for example, will help a firefighter that might be too deep in a building to be able to directly contact command officials by radio. Even if the firefighter’s radio signal only needs to reach another firefighter nearby, the radio could zap a conversation or data transfer to the next closest radio, and so on until it reaches the intended target. A mesh setup also requires less power and denies access for attackers of a centralized target wanting to terminate communications.

Motorola said the acquisition will give its customers more options to build broadband wireless networks capable of delivering data, video, location and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP - define - news - alert) services. "This acquisition will provide Motorola with technologies that will have a significant benefit for customers across all of our businesses," said Greg Brown, president of Motorola's commercial, government and industrial solutions unit. "The acquisition also represents another step in Motorola's commitment to deliver seamless mobility to all of our customers."

Motorola Inc.

MeshNetworks Inc.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at


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