Motorola loves mesh

Motorola officials have been fully supportive of developing IP-based, wireless mesh networking since the company acquired the technology originally developed for battlefield communications.

Rick Rotondo, marketing director for Motorola's Mesh Networks Products Group, said the company's strategy is to "mesh everything," which is to see how far the technology can be integrated into the company's other divisions and products.

The primary visionary behind that strategy is Greg Brown, president of Motorola's Government and Enterprise Mobility Solutions business unit. "He understood fundamentally how meshing can enhance any wireless technology," Rotondo said. "It's just straight physics. He's given us the resources and cleared the way for us within Motorola to really make that happen."

Rotondo was an employee of Maitland, Fla.-based MeshNetworks, which commercialized the Defense Department technology after Motorola bought the company. Motorola was supportive of the new team and didn't replace the top managers, he said.

"In fact, the entire team that was there doing the acquisition is still there now," Rotondo said. "From management to receptionist, they're still there. Nobody has left."

Recently, Motorola announced it would deliver a mesh network to the city of Ripon, Calif. It is the first major contract for the Mesh Networks Products Group.

Having the Motorola name is a plus, Rotondo said. "When you're dealing with public safety and mission-critical applications, having the Motorola name behind you as opposed to start-up MeshNetworks makes a huge difference," he said. "It's a company people trust."

Craig Mathias, principal and founder of the Farpoint Group, said having the Motorola name provides instant recognition and credibility. "It definitely helps, but it's a young market and I don't think that by itself is an overwhelming advantage," he said.

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