Cisco systems announced that it will purchase wireless networking startup Navini Networks for $330 million on Wednesday, in a cash and stock deal expected to be completed in 2008.

Cisco said that the Navini acquisition will help the company compete in emerging markets overseas especially in developing countries that don't have extensive systems of phone lines and fibre optic cables since WiMax will provide a cheaper way to quickly set up fast data networks.

A convenient aspect of the acquisition is that Cisco already has development centers near Navini's two locations in Richardson, Texas and in Bangalore, and it's expected to close the transaction in the second quarter of Cisco's 2008 fiscal year, said Larry Lang, Vice president and general manager of Cisco's mobility, signaling and control business unit.

Navini is known for its Smart Beam forming technology that improves the performance and range of WiMax signals.

WiMax, which some have described as WiFi on steroids, is similar to the popular home networking standard which allows data to be transmitted over the air, but have a range of five miles or more.