In a bid to drive expanded use of wireless networking technology, Cisco announced Monday that it is making certain technology available free of charge for chip makers and computer firms.

The Cisco technology is designed to improve both the security, which has been a major concern for potential users, and range of wireless networks.

Several companies already have signed on for the Cisco offer, including IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which plan to include improved chips in new laptops.

Chipmakers that will use the Cisco technology include Intel, Texas Instruments and Atheros.

Cisco already owns about one third of the wireless networking market based on the 802.11 Wi-Fi standards.

The wireless network market generated 11.6 million units sold in 2002, a 65 percent increase over 2001, reported research firm In-Stat/MDR.