Linear Technology acquires Dust Networks

MILPITAS, Calif.  Linear Technology Corporation a manufacturer of high-performance analog integrated circuits, has announced the acquisition of Dust Networks, Inc., a provider of low-power wireless sensor network (WSN) technology. The acquisition of Dust Networks, based in Hayward, Calif., will enable Linear to offer a complete high-performance wireless sensor networking solution. Dust Networks' low-power radio and software technology complements Linear's strengths in industrial instrumentation, power management and energy harvesting technology.

Dust Networks' proven, low-power wireless sensor network technology extends Linear's product portfolio into key growth areas in industrial process control, data acquisition and energy harvesting. Dust Networks' ultra-low-power wireless systems complements Linear's analog and digital sensor interface ICs and energy harvesting power management products in applications where measurement of physical parameters has traditionally been impractical or impossible.

Erik Soule, vice president of signal conditioning and high-frequency products for Linear Technology, stated, "Dust Networks offers the lowest power radio technology and most complete networking software for building industrial-grade wireless sensor networks. Combined with Linear's precision low-power sensor interface products and battery-free energy harvesting technology, we can now offer the industry's highest-performance remote monitoring solutions."

With the growing importance of machine-to-machine communications to enable remote data acquisition, low-power wireless sensing is an emerging solution for many endmarkets, including industrial process control building automation and data center energy management.

Joy Weiss, president of Dust Networks, stated, "Dust Networks and Linear are an excellent fit. We already have very complementary products and customers, and with Linear's global sales reach, we can be at the forefront, enabling sensor networks to go wireless on an even broader scale."

"Smart Dust" was first conceived by Dr. Kris Pister, founder and chief technologist of Dust Networks, as a simple way to deploy intelligent wireless sensors. Dust Networks pioneered SmartMesh networks that comprise a self-forming mesh of nodes, or "motes," which collect and relay data, and a network manager that monitors and manages network performance and sends data to the host application. This technology is now the basis for a number of seminal networking standards.

The hallmark of Dust Networks' technology is that it combines low-power, standards-based radio technology, time diversity, frequency diversity and physical diversity—to assure reliability, scalability, wire-free power source flexibility and ease-of-use. All motes in a SmartMesh network—even the routing nodes—are designed to run on batteries for years, allowing the ultimate flexibility in placing sensors exactly where they need to go with low- cost “peel and stick” installations.

Dust Networks' customers range from the world's largest industrial process automation and control providers, such as GE and Emerson, to innovative, green companies, such as Vigilent and Streetline Networks. Dust Networks' technology can be found in a variety of monitoring and control solutions, including data center energy management, renewable energy, remote monitoring and transportation.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Although there will be some transaction-related costs, Dust's ongoing results are not expected to be material in the short term to Linear's financial statements.

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