LONDON Nokia's attempts to form an open basestation architecture for next generation wireless networks were dealt a major blow this week when five other leading basestation makers agreed to cooperate on the creation of a common public radio interface (CPRI).
Ericsson, Siemens, NEC, Nortel and Huawei Technologies are promoting the initiative to create an open-source definition for an interface between the control and radio elements of a basestation. They stress they are not trying to set a standard, but simply setting a common specification for this part of a basestation.
The backers said the main benefits of such a move are faster development when introducing new technologies and allowing basestation manufacturers to offer a wider portfolio of products to operators with shorter time to market. This means operators will benefit from a broader choice of products and more flexible solutions, improving the efficiency of network deployment. < P> Nokia claimed similar advantages when it announced, at the February 2002 GSM World Congress, its Open Basestation Architecture Initiative.
Companies working with Nokia on the initiative include LG Electronics and Samsung, but key players such as Ericsson and Siemens shied away from a full commitment to Nokia's initiative for an open interface specification. Others, including Nortel, said they are still in discussions with the Finnish group about their efforts.
Those backing the CPRI initiative said it "complements current activities in existing standardization organizations (for example, 3GPP/3GPP2)." They also urged others to join the initiative, which plans to introduce products compatible with the specification next year.