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Cisco Buys Cognio

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has bought erstwhile partner Cognio Inc. for an undisclosed sum for its wireless spectrum analysis and management capabilities.

The buyout cements Cisco's close-working relationship with the Germantown, Md.-based startup. Cisco has been using the company's Spectrum Expert, a WiFi spectrum analysis and monitoring tool, alongside its Wireless Control System (WCS) to give network users data on what might be causing RF problems in their neighborhood for nearly a year now. Cisco suggested at the beginning of the partnership that they may work on closer integration. (See Cisco Tunes In With Cognio.)

The startup claimed to have 16 patents around WiFi and other types of radio interference management. Spectrum management is particularly important for WiFi networks because the technology largely works on the public -- and crowded -- 2.4GHz band. Cognio's tools are designed to allow WiFi networks to coexist with each other and other devices on the same band, such as Bluetooth products and microwave networks. (See Cognio Adds Patents.)

Experts have always warned that spectrum analysis and management will be necessary to keep WiFi networks running smoothly. This has led to an active WiFi spectrum management niche market. Cognio's main competitors include AirMagnet Inc. , Fluke Networks , and WildPackets Inc. (See Thinking About Interference.)

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco's 2008 fiscal year, making it the first buyout of the year for the networking giant. Upon the close, Cisco plans to integrate Cognio into its Wireless Networking Business Unit.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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