Cisco sinks funding into WiMAX-supporting Grid Net, looks to ride the 'smart energy' wave

Here's an interesting one. Just days after Cisco admitted that it was killing its own internal development of WiMAX kit, the networking mainstay has sunk an undisclosed amount of cheddar into a company that holds WiMAX in the highest regard: Grid Net. Said outfit has close ties to GE, Intel, Motorola and Clearwire, all of which have also voiced support (and invested real dollars) for the next-generation wireless protocol in years past. Last we heard, Cisco was doing its best to remain "radio-agnostic," and while some may view this as flip-flopping, we view it as brilliant; it's costly to develop internally, but buying stake in a company that's already well versed in a given technology allows Cisco to keep WiMAX at arm's reach without incurring the risk associated with building within. Beyond all that, we think that Cisco's just trying to get in early on the energy management biz, particularly after the US government announced that it would be funding the distribution of loads of in-home energy monitors in the coming years. According to Grid Net, it intends to "use the proceeds from this investment to promote its real-time, all-IP, secure, reliable, extensible, end-to-end Smart Grid network infrastructure solutions," though specifics beyond that were few and far between. Verizon mentioned that it would soon be using its LTE network for all sorts of unorthodox things -- we suppose WiMAX backers are planning to allow the same.