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Motorola boosts Wi-fi devices with Motia's smart antenna technology

Motorola told the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it will use smart antenna technology from Motia to extend the range of future Wi-Fi devices and improve the signal strength.

Motia, a startup company, 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 mobile 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.

Javelin will add $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.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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