Spokane Journal of Business

Packet Engines, WSU join in research effort

Separately, company plans to expand its space here

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Packet Engines Inc., a Spokane computer hardware maker that specializes in high-speed networking technology, and Washington State University are teaming up on a nearly $140,000 research project that will delve into how to improve Packets products for the future.

The Washington Technology Center (WTC) has funded the project through its research and technology development grant program, which provides money to researchers at state universities who work with industry on commercially promising projects.

Packet Engines and WSUs School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are working together to identify, design, and test improvements in quality of service, says Kim Stearns, Packets manager of business development for national labs and universities. She explains that quality of service is a term used in computer networking to describe what is required by computers to run applications, especially complex ones such as those with continuous audio and video and virtual reality capabilities.

The center will provide about $94,000 to fund the research over the next two years. Packet Engines also will contribute nearly $45,000 plus provide in-kind support, such as time that Packet experts will donate to the school, Stearns says.

Heading the research will be two assistant professors at WSUs School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Krishna Sivalingum and Jonathan Chien-Liang Liu. While the school has a branch at WSU-Spokane, the research will be done at the main branch in Pullman.

Separately, Packet Engines plans to expand at Redwood Plaza at 11707 E. Sprague, where its headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located.

Packet moved into offices on the top floor of the three-story building on Sprague in October 1996, says Packet spokeswoman Nancy Goodspeed. In May 1997, Packet began manufacturing its high-speed routing switches for network computers at the site.

The company now occupies space on all three floors plus the basement, although exact space figures are not available because of constant changes, Goodspeed says.

In the current expansion, the company plans to add 2,900 square feet of office space in one of the neighboring buildings of Redwood Plaza. The new space will allow Packet to consolidate offices throughout the central building, freeing space for manufacturing.

It will effectively double our manufacturing space, Goodspeed says.

She says no employment increases are anticipated as part of the move into the additional space.

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