Tribune staff report
Published November 16, 2004, 2:41 PM CST
A company that applies military technology to mobile communications networks is the latest acquisition of Schaumburg-based Motorola Inc.
Motorola today said it would buy MeshNetworks, a company developing wireless systems based on research by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Motorola, which already owns a stake in the company, started to sell MeshNetwork technology in police and fire radio systems this summer.
The systems turn radios into wireless networks, extending the range of all transmissions by using each device as a relay station in much the same way that messages travel many short points along the Internet.
The technology lets wireless "hot spots" cover wider areas, and brings the Web to autos, buses and trains. Other applications of the technology include home networking and industrial controls.
"If you have bad coverage on your cell phone, this can allow you to connect through someone else’s phone who happens to be near you,” Juergen Stark, vice president of Motorola’s commercial government business, told Bloomberg News. "The technology can adjust on the fly.”
The purchase is expected to be completed by the end of next month. Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch declined to say how much the company already owns of MeshNetworks except that it is a "small” stake. The typical investment of Motorola’s venture group is $2 million to $5 million, she said.
Launched in 2000, MeshNetworks is based in Maitland, Fla., and employs about 70 people, about 85 percent of whom have technical degrees, according to information on the company’s Web site.