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Nokia acquires mesh Wi-Fi networking firm Unium

The acquisition highlights Nokia's traction in the connectivity market.

Nokia has announced plans to acquire Unium in what may be a key ingredient of the firm's plans to dominate the home Wi-Fi market.

The tech giant announced the acquisition on Sunday as Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, enters full swing.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2002, Seattle-based Unium develops carrier-grade mesh networking applications in both enterprise and consumer environments.

While standard Wi-Fi routers often suffer from weakening signals due to the distance between connecting devices and hubs, as well as obstructing objects, the infrastructure of mesh Wi-Fi aims to blanket spaces with the same, strong signal and eradicate dead spots altogether.

Companies have touted mesh Wi-Fi as a critical application of future smart homes as mesh topography can also prevent bottlenecks occurring when multiple devices are connected and operating at the same time -- a requirement for the wide array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices now entering our homes.

Unium's plug-and-play mesh Wi-Fi works on these principles and can offer Gigabit wireless connectivity as well as support Ethernet standards.

According to the company, the Unium Wi-Fi software analyzes the capabilities and performance of every device connecting to Wi-Fi -- such as smartphones, PCs, and tablets -- in order to "optimize each connection and provide a tailored customer experience."

The startup raised $26.7 million in funding before the acquisition. Customers have included Google Fiber and the US Department of Defense.

Nokia says that Unium's software will complement Nokia's own end-to-end Wi-Fi solutions portfolio. In addition, the firm will support Nokia's business vision of strengthening its position in the home Wi-Fi market.

"We look forward to having the Unium team join us," said Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's Fixed Networks business group. "The home networking market is booming and whole-home Wi-Fi is a key enabler for this."

"Today's Wi-Fi solutions still have serious issues with sticky clients, interference, coverage gaps and capacity issues," the executive added. "With Unium inside, our Nokia Wi-Fi solution will deliver an unmatched user experience, going beyond what standard mesh Wi-Fi solutions deliver today."

See also: Nokia looks at options for its smartwatches and digital health business

Nokia is steaming ahead with developing its connectivity business, and at the same time, Nokia licensee HMD Global took to the stage at WMC to outline a fresh range of Nokia-branded mobile devices.

The new Android devices are the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 6 and Nokia 1.

The deal is expected to close in the Q1 2018.

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