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Start-up aims for instant, easier networks

PacketHop says it will unveil plans to deliver software-based mesh networking technology for mobile devices and computers.

Start-up company PacketHop said it will unveil plans Monday to deliver software-based mesh networking technology for mobile devices and computers.

The Belmont, Calif.-based company is planning to offer client software and management tools designed to make it easy and efficient for devices to connect to one another and existing networks.

"We're focusing on allowing devices to create instant networks and to allow companies to easily manage those devices on their current networks," PacketHop Chief Executive Michael Howse said. "This is partly a less-expensive way of extending the network."

PacketHop's mesh networking software is not dependent on one radio technology but rather can be used with several.

Mesh networking, also known as multihop networking, is one of a number of technologies being developed to extend the range of current wireless networking technologies. It involves distributing numerous interconnected access points to boost the bandwidth and range of a wireless network, making it easier for people to wirelessly access bandwidth-demanding content, such as streaming audio and video.

PacketHop's technology uses standard Internet Protocol and is expected to work with off-the-shelf hardware.

The company expects its products to be in trials with customers in the first quarter of next year.

PacketHop said it has exclusive license and patents from SRI International and is funded by venture capital firms U.S. Venture Partners and Mayfield. Financial details were not disclosed.