Motorola acquires Orthogon Systems

In a move to strengthen its expertise in next-generation wireless technologies, Motorola Inc. said Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire privately held Orthogon Systems LLC for an undisclosed sum.

Ashburton, England-based Orthogon Systems specializes in Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) technology. With the Orthogon acquisition, Motorola aims to enhance its OFDM capability and extend that know-how to its MOTOwi4 wireless broadband offerings, including WiMax, the company said.

OFDM technology can be used either to connect notebook computers of mobile users or serve as a fixed wireless access system, bridging the "last mile" to connect PCs in homes and small offices. Key features include an all-IP architecture and fast speeds.

The move by Motorola to acquire Orthogon comes as rival wireless manufacturers add OFDM to their product offerings.

Last year, Qualcomm Inc. acquired Flarion Technologies Inc., which pioneered Flash-OFDM (fast low-latency access with seamless hand-off OFDM) technology for mobile IP-based broadband services. The technology enables users traveling at 155 miles per hour, for instance, to download data at speeds up to 1.5Mbit/sec. or upload at speeds up to 500Kbit/sec.

Siemens AG is also doing pioneering work in the area of OFDM. In 2004, at its research lab in Munich, the manufacturer claimed to have made the fastest-ever wireless connection -- 1Gbit/sec. -- by combining an intelligent antenna system with OFDM.

The sale of this business and the other telecommunications equipment manufacturing activities belonging to Siemens' loss-making Electro-Com division are the subject of talks between the company and Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola, according to a report published Monday by the German business newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Last year, Siemens sold its financially bleeding cell-phone manufacturing unit to Taiwan-based BenQ Corp.

The German electronics giant remains mum about its long-term telecommunications strategy.

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