Mesh networks extend the concept of wireless hotspots from individual locations to networks covering entire areas where data, video, location and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can be shared.

Because traditional infrastructure is not needed, industry experts say the technology is particularly well-suited to military and emergency needs.

Wireless analyst Albert Lin called the investment “an extremely good move” by Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola, which makes wireless infrastructure equipment as well as cell phones, noting that its government systems business already is one of its most profitable.

“One of the biggest customers for wireless networking equipment over the next decade or so will be the Department of Defense,” said Lin, of American Technology Research in San Francisco. “There is no greater profit potential for Motorola than making a sale to the government — usually they’re well-funded, long in duration and highly profitable.”

Motorola’s commercial, government and industrial solutions division had $3.3 billion in sales through nine months of 2004, barely a quarter of the $11.9 billion pulled in by the cell-phone unit. But it was more profitable for its size, reaping $546 million in operating earnings, or nearly half that of the much bigger division.

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