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And the 2006 Fierce 15 winners are...

(click a company to read its profile)

Altair Semiconductor
Axerra Networks
Clearwire
The Cloud
Extricom
FON
Fractus
Intamac Systems
MMC Technology
Navini
Network Chemistry
picoChip
TeleCIS
Wavion
Wavesat

I'm excited to announce the winners of this year's annual Fierce 15, our list of the hottest, fiercest companies in the WiFi world for 2006. This year's winners differ a great deal in the technology they're developing, but they're all companies which should help to shape the still-evolving future of wireless communications.

This year, wireless broadband has come into its own, with WiFi and WiMAX solutions striding boldly ahead. Public WiFi networks are scaling up to previously unheard of dimensions, with hotspots proliferating rapidly in the U.S. and Europe. Carriers are looking seriously at WiMAX as a means of providing lower-cost backhaul. And equipment vendors are growing more sophisticated at providing infrastructure to support unified WiFi/WiMAX and VoIP implementations. All told, it's a great time to be a broadband wireless company.

And there's no better example of that than our Fierce 15 winners. Companies like Extricom, whose product simplifies WLAN implementation and Intamac Systems, which allows for digital monitoring of homes, are part of a larger movement towards making WiFi solutions more practical for consumers and industry.  And players like Navini, which is plunging ahead with mobile WiMAX solutions despite the lack of a final 802.16e standard, are blazing a trail for others to follow.

While no one knows exactly how the broadband wireless market will shake out, we're confident that the outstanding companies named in the Fierce 15 will play a critical role in the emergence of WiFi and WiMAX technologies. Over time, look for them to lead the way in the high-stakes race to ubiquitous wireless broadband coverage. And keep your eyes peeled--it may come sooner than you think.

-Ben