Motorola acquires Orthogon Systems

Motorola has agreed to acquire privately held Orthogon Systems for an undisclosed sum.

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

Orthogon in Ashburton, England, specializes in OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) 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 (Internet Protocol) 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 acquired Flarion Technologies, 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 250 kilometers per hour, for instance, to download data at speeds up to 1.5M bps (bits per second) or upload at speeds up to 500K bps.

Siemens 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 -- 1G bps -- by combining an intelligent antenna system with OFDM.

The sale of this business and the other telecom equipment manufacturing activities belonging to Siemens' loss-making Com division are the subject of talks between the German company and 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's BenQ.

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

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John Blau

IDG News Service
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