Small Cell Forum (SCF) has unveiled its updated 5G FAPI PHY and RF specifications, as well as an updated 5G network FAPI specification and a testing framework for S-RU and S-DUs.
The updated specifications and new test support paper developed by the SCF membership demonstrate maturity and ongoing support for the FAPI interfaces, which are used in millions of the world’s Systems on a Chip small cells – and can now be used for macro cells as well.
“The 5G-FAPI specification suite continues to evolve and mature to meet the needs of an ever-wider range of network deployment scenarios for next-generation networks,” said Andrei Radulescu, FAPI Rapporteur and Senior Staff Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. “In addition to maturing support for 3GPP Rel-15, this latest update adds 3GPP Rel16 features, flexible interworking between PHY and RF APIs, and a unified message structure over internal and network interfaces. Ethernet and IP transport of PHY and RF APIs allow rich configuration and analog beamforming over the network interface. In addition, the introduction of macrocell feature support brings high-performance, low-power components into 5G mobile base stations, of all types, whether small cell or macro.”
Ganesh Shenbagaraman, Network FAPI Rapporteur and Head of Integrated Products and Ecosystems, Radisys, said: “SCF standards are enabling faster time to market for Open RAN solutions, with many small cells and DU products adopting the broader FAPI suite. This release of 5G nFAPI specification adds many optimizations and support of P19 interface over the network, paving the way for more advanced implementations.”
“SCF’s core remit is to create the right conditions for an open, multi-vendor ecosystem to flourish, driving competition and innovation, and our work around 5G FAPI lies at the center of this,” said Prabhakar Chitrapu, SCF Chair, said. “The enhancements being announced today will further help 5G FAPI to be universally adopted and implemented in all 5G-RAN products, irrespective of which disaggregation network architecture is deployed, enabling a vibrant multi-vendor ecosystem for 5G-era equipment lowering the barriers to entry both for suppliers and network deployers.”
FAPI is a common standard agreed between chipset and component suppliers and mobile base station integrators. It is an API for hardware components implementing 3GPP physical layer functions and software stacks implementing MAC and higher layers.