Kineto Gets $15.5M for Femtocell Push

Kineto Wireless is like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going. Today the Milpitas, Calif.-based startup said it has raised $15.5 million in additional capital. The round, which included funding from Motorola as part of a broader commercial relationship with the handset maker’s home and networks mobility business, also involved Kineto’s existing investors Oak Investment Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Venrock, Seapoint Ventures and InterDigital. An earlier investment from NEC will also tie in with this round. Kineto will use the funding to keep pushing its UMA technology beyond dual-mode handsets and work on a new technology for femtocells.

Kineto’s UMA technology basically provides a software link between unlicensed wireless services, such as Wi-Fi and cellular data networks. It has been used in dual-mode handsets to bridge Wi-Fi and cellular networks, most notably in T-Mobile’s Hot Spot@Home product, and now the company is trying to land it a starring big role in the 3G and 4G femtocell markets. Femtocells, which are personal cellular base stations hooked into a consumer’s existing broadband connection, help boost coverage inside homes and can also be used to offload some traffic from a carrier’s wireless 3G network. In 4G networks, femtocells might be used to bridge gaps in coverage.

Kineto worked with NEC to create a standard to connect femtocells to the home computing network that was based on its UMA technology. However, the companies involved in the standard-setting effort chose a different way to connect femtocells to home networks, and will publish a complete standard in early 2009. This latest round of funding should enable Kineto to support femtocell development and deployments for vendors such as NEC and Motorola as carriers and equipment makers figure out the best way to build out and support wireless broadband networks.

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