Cisco: US $295 Million Later, Radiata Added to the Quiver

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Cisco Systems announced the US $295 million stock acquisition of Australian wireless chipset developer Radiata Tuesday. Radiata will provide the networks giant with expertise in next generation wireless networks.

Cisco invested in Radiata last year along with cable modem manufacturer Broadcom. Cisco paid US $295 million (Aus $567) for the remaining 89 percent of Radiata in an all stock transaction.

All 53 of Radiata’s staff will join Cisco’s Wireless Business Networking unit. Not surprising given at Cisco one in five employees comes from a Cisco acquisition and 90 percent of Cisco’s acquisitions are start-ups.

Radiata’s flagship product, the ‘Wireless Engine’, is based on the IEEE802.11a wireless standard. In English that means it can transport data at 54Mbps and operates in the 5Ghz spectrum rather than the 2.4Ghz used by chipsets based on the IEEE802.11b wireless standard, which only affords speeds up to 11 Mbps.

Speed considerations aside, interference is a problem for wireless devices operating in the 2.4Ghz spectrum. High-end cordless telephones and microwaves also operate in the increasingly crowded, unlicensed spectrum. With wireless local area networks gaining favor in coming years, the 5Ghz spectrum is where many expect the growth to come. Superior data-rates and lower susceptibility to interference should win the day.

Founders Dr. David Skellern and Dr. Neil Weste started Radiata at Sydney’s Macquarie University using technology developed by the CSIRO (which will receive royalties from Radiata). CEO Chris Beare is a veteran of the Australian venture capital scene: Formerly heading up Hambros Australia until Societe Generale acquired it in 1998.

More coverage of Radiata at: Radiata: Networking For A Wireless World

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