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Motorola Throws Support to HomeRF

Motorola (NYSE:MOT) Monday threw its continuing support behind next-generation HomeRF wireless networking technology and said that it would stream multimedia over those home nets.

Specifically, the company said it would incorporate HomeRF 2.0 technology into its cable modems and residential gateways. Motorola also said it would incorporate the technology in its high-end digital set-top boxes.

It said in a statement that it will use HomeRF technology from Proxim Inc. (Nasdaq:PROX). HomeRF 2.0 is in pitched battle with another standard, 802.11b, for acceptance in the home.

The newly adopted HomeRF standard provides speeds of 10Mbps, which is just slightly slower than that of 802.11b. The latter is widely used in the enterprise. A number of high-visibility vendors such as Intel have stopped making new HomeRF products and thrown their support behind 802.11b.

Motorola also said it would offer Proxim's HomeRF-based USB and PC cards and Ethernet gateway under its private label. Motorola has been using HomeRF for a number of years.

"High-speed Internet access coupled with wireless home networking technology can enable people to connect both their internal and outside worlds via their PCs, TVs and other household electronic devices," said Dan Moloney, senior vice president and general manager of Motorola's IP Systems Group.

Besides being a leading supporter of HomeRF, Proxim also claims to hold patents related to 802.11 and has notified about 70 vendors that it expects to collect royalties. However, Proxim was sued by Agere, which claims it has wireless LAN technology that Proxim has improperly used.

Separately, Motorola said it was adding the ability to stream audio and video using its wireless home networking products. Motorola said it would work with SimpleDevices to add those capabilities to stream multimedia to a variety of devices, including existing stereo equipment.

Specifically, the system will use SimpleDevice's SimpleFi system, which sends digital audio received by a PC to other devices in the home via wireless networks.

In addition, the companies said they plan to work together to deliver streaming audio to a variety of devices, including handhelds and in-car systems.