Calgary-based Wi-LAN Inc has moved to broaden its product portfolio and international reach through its proposed acquisition of UC Wireless, a California-based fixed wireless equipment maker. The acquisition would also give Wi-LAN access to some innovative technology that solves the longstanding line-of-sight problem associated with wireless networks. UC Wireless, Santa Barbara CA, is known for its versatile intelligent network environment (VINE) technology –described as an "anypoint-to-multipoint" architecture. As opposed to being designed in a cellular network architecture, each point or node along the network is equipped with a multidirectional antenna that enables communications between two points that aren’t necessarily in the line of sight of each other. The network can be expanded a node at a time simply by adding additional gear. Wi-LAN can already address the non-line-of-sight issue with its patented W-OFDM technology, says Wanda Posehn, VP corporate marketing and communications. She adds the new technology will serve as an additional way of approaching this issue. It’s still too early to evaluate how the two types of technology will be integrated and whether the cost of developing and manufacturing products incorporating the VINE technology will be more expensive. The real value of the acquisition, she says, is access to a portfolio of complementary products and access to a greater international reach. "That’s really key for further growth and development," Posehn told Report on Wireless. The addition of UC Wireless’ data transmission networking products with Wi-LAN’s portfolio provides the company with more leverage in marketing a broadened product suite internationally, according to Posehn. Access to skilled workers is another incentive. Despite the recent spat of huge layoffs from the major equipment vendors, an experienced crew of DSP software and RF engineers is still hard to come by, she notes. UC Wireless will continue to operate as an independent company for the immediate future, she adds. The deal is expected to close later this month.