Vivato Garners Intel Backing

The Intel Communications
Fund
, which last year pledged to deliver $150 million in funding
to 802.11 related startups, has announced it is providing backing capital to
four companies.

Chief among them is Vivato, which recently
began sampling its 2.4 GHz Indoor Wi-Fi Switch, an $8,995 wall-mountable, flat-panel
unit that will provide coverage for up to 150 802.11b clients in its 300 meter
range, negating the need for deploying several access points. Vivato also says
the two companies will "participate in joint marketing activities."

Coupled with other investments, this brings Vivato’s total investment to $29
million.

The fund has also announced investment in other Wi-Fi hotspot related companies:
rovingIP.net, which makes Wi-Fi roaming solutions
for broadband service providers and hotspot operators; Pronto
Networks
, which makes hotspot controllers (Pronto announced this news in
January); and Broadreach Networks, which makes wireless
and wired Internet access kiosks for public use under the ReadytoSurf brand
(Broadreach announced the investment last month).

Previous investments by the fund have included STSN, which is rolling out Wi-Fi in hotels, and
Telesym, which is developing PocketPC-based
VoIP phones;

The Intel Communications Fund is managed by Intel Capital, the branch of the
chip maker behind helping fund the Cometa Networks launch. Other Cometa
partners include IBM and AT&T.

The chip side of Intel will be releasing the Centrino Mobile Platform later
this week
to much hoopla, with events planned in several major cities and
a multi-million dollar "Unwire"
ad campaign
that will push Centrino’s compatibility with Wi-Fi hotspots.
Centrino will be a mix of an Pentium 4-M processor with embedded 802.11b networking.
To further push Centrino (and mindshare in Wi-Fi to get more people to buy laptops
with Centrino), Intel is also in co-marketing deals with several major hotspot
vendors and hotels, including Toshiba Computer Systems Group, which recently began shipping its own low-cost turnkey hotspot hardware.

Phil Belanger, vice president of marketing at Vivato, will be part of a panel discussion, “New Architectures: Switched WLANs,” at the 80211Planet Expo and Conference on June 25-27 in Boston. In addition, Vivato will be exhibiting at the show in booth 814.

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