Cisco Systems announced yesterday that it will purchase WiMax innovator Navini Networks for $330 million in cash and stock, Fortune reports. WiMax is similar to existing wireless technology except that its signals can be received by computers up to five miles away. Cisco's acquisition represents a reversal of previously held skepticism about the technology.
Cisco was skeptical because much of the developed world already has the wiring infrastructure for traditional Internet access. WiMax, however, will play a decisive role in wiring the developing world, where extensive phone and fiber optic cable systems don't exist. A WiMax network in such places could provide widespread access for a fraction of the investment in infrastructure.