Motorola chooses Motia's smart antenna technology

Motorola Inc. will use smart antenna technology from Motia Inc. to extend the range of future Wi-Fi devices and improve the signal strength, Motorola announced Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas.

Motia, a startup company based in Stamford, Connecticut, has designed a chip called Javelin that uses smart antenna technology. Smart antennas are active antenna elements that intelligently search for client devices and broadcast a signal directly to that receiver, rather than "dumb" antennas that just emit a signal that grows weaker as the distance between the client and the access point increases.

Smart antennas have been used in cell phone transmitters, but are now finding their way into much smaller Wi-Fi devices. Motia's chip allows wireless access points to capture signals from multiple antenna elements on the chip, and blend those together to create a stronger signal that can be detected over greater ranges than a signal sent out from an existing Wi-Fi device.

Motorola is entering the Wi-Fi market, and wanted to differentiate its access points with the added range and signal strength of Javelin, said Robert Warner, vice president of sales and marketing for Motia. Products with Motia's technology should be available by the third quarter of this year, Warner said.

Motorola is Motia's first customer for its Javelin technology, Warner said. A Motorola representative was not immediately available for comment.

Javelin will add US$20 to the cost of a Wi-Fi access point when the chip is released in the first quarter. The technology is specifically designed for corporate wireless networks, and will allow network managers to cover their offices with fewer access points, reducing the cost of installing and maintaining a wireless network, Motia said.

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