A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week: Adaptix

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Adaptix, based in Seattle.

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In May 2004, Vern Fotheringham and Hui Liu purchased the assets of Broadstorm, a company Liu founded five years ago to develop an early version of the emerging WiMax technology.


Fotheringham, who previously worked at Bazillion, Advanced Radio Telecom and Omninet, is Adaptix’s president and chief executive. Liu, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, is chief technical adviser. James Miller is executive vice president of global sales, marketing and business development.


: WiMax is a developing standard for high-speed mobile broadband wireless access. It’s similar to Wi-Fi, except that it can transmit farther and at higher speeds and greater bandwidth.

What it does:

Using a technology Liu developed at Broadstorm called orthogonal frequency division multiple access, Adaptix is building the precursor to WiMax, including customer equipment used to connect to the network, base stations and software to run the systems. It does not provide WiMax service.


Adaptix is working on a fixed version of WiMax, meaning it can be used in one place. It hopes to develop a mobile version soon.


Miller said customers are looking for a fixed solution that can be easily upgraded to a mobile version. “We are overwhelmed by the interest,” he said. “There are more opportunities than we can effectively pursue at this time. The majority of them are outside the U.S.”

Announced customer:

Beijing Airway Communications, which is building a broadband wireless network in Beining China’s Shijingshan District.


Adaptix has raised more than $10 million in venture capital and has about 65 employees, 25 in Seattle. It also has offices in China and Canada.

Hot spot:

Adaptix believes WiMax’s sweet spot will be in filling gaps between existing technologies. Miller said devices soon will be compatible with Wi-Fi, WiMax and 3G. Wi-Fi is the lowest-cost service, but once users leave an office or a coffee shop, they will roam to a WiMax network, at a higher cost. When the WiMax signal loses strength, cellular 3G networks will kick in at the highest cost, he said.

— Tricia Duryee