Hot on the heels of the International Telecommunications Union's approval of WiMAX as a global standard, Cisco Systems today announced it plans to acquire WiMAX device maker Navini Networks for $330 million in cash and assumed options, marking the networking giant's first foray into the wireless technology.

The Navini acquisition brings a portfolio of WiMAX products and technologies to the company, such as subscriber modems, base stations, adaptive antenna arrays and management systems. According to Cisco officials, Navini's technology will help the company build high-speed Internet networks deep in emerging markets where traditional Internet infrastructure doesn't exist.

It appears that WiMAX is finally taking big steps forward and Cisco's move into the market will further add another layer of credibility to the nascent technology. Will 2008 finally be the year WiMAX truly takes off?