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How Much Will Cisco Change WiMax?

I don't believe the effects of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s planned $330 million acquisition of WiMax basestation vendor Navini Networks Inc. will be immediately obvious in the wireless broadband world.

As I mentioned in my previous stories on Cisco's WiMax ambitions, the networking giant isn't walking into a market it dominates here. It will face stiff competition from the likes of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

In fact, some of our sources have suggested that a basestation buyout is just the first stage in Cisco developing a WiMax infrastructure play.

Nonetheless, I suspect we'll see Cisco try and exploit any advantage it does have in this market in a couple of ways. Firstly, by using WiMax to link to – and extend the range – of existing enterprise and metropolitan area systems. It only makes sense for Cisco to try and promote some form of WiMax connectivity to large enterprise customers and municipal and public safety buyers.

Navini's patented "beamforming" technology is likely to get more press at the very least. Could Cisco use its size to push the signal strengthening technology as something that should be part of the mobile WiMax profiles? Possibly. I suspect that many WiMax component suppliers are taking a closer interest in the market as of today.

Cisco's move into the market is a nice pickup for a technology niche that had been suffering from Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s investor issues with spending on WiMax recently. The buyout hints that there's plenty of mileage in WiMax yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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