5G Network FAPI specifications

5G network FAPI specifications

The 5G network functional application platform interface (5G nFAPI) is an initiative that extends for 5G the functional split between the MAC and PHY functions that enables virtualization of the MAC function, as identified by the study undertaken by the Small Cell Forum; this virtualization is already enabled for 4G via 4G-nFAPI. These specifications define an equivalent transportable interface for MAC-PHY 5G function application platform interface (5G-FAPI) defined for 5G small cells.

This RAN architecture virtualization MAC function is also known as the Option 6.

These specifications comprise:

  • Introduction: This section provides the high-level overview of nFAPI concepts and terminology.
  • nFAPI: This section details nFAPI procedures.
  • P5 messages: This section details P5 messages.
  • P7 messages: This section details P7 slot messages.
  • [3GPP TR 38.816, v15.0.0] architecture split.

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About 5G nFAPI

As the industry moves towards a more open and disaggregated RAN, several different functional split options have been shortlisted by MNOs (mobile network operators) as candidates for further evaluation. MNOs have requested standards development of selected split options to enable further evaluation, and SCF has developed specifications for split Option 6 named nFAPI (network Functional API).

In this informative companion document to the normative specification we provide an overview of the specification’s application, a roadmap for ongoing feature implementation and ecosystem support, and an FAQ.

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5G FAPI suite

The nFAPI specification belongs to the 5G-FAPI suite, which comprises four specification documents covering the following interfaces:

  • ‘5G FAPI: PHY API’ – PHY mode control (P5) interface and main data path (P7) [SCF222]
  • ‘5G FAPI: RF and Digital Front End Control API’ – (P19) for Frontend Unit control [SCF223]
  • ‘Network Monitor Mode API’ – (P4) for 2G/3G/4G/5G [SCF224]
  • ‘5G nFAPI Specification’ [SCF225] (this document)

About 5G nFAPI specifications

In this short video, Ganesh Shenbagaraman from Radisys and Andrei Radulescu from Qualcomm provide a brief overview of  5G network FAPI specifications V1.0

The 5G nFAPI interface establishes interoperability and innovation among suppliers of disaggregated RAN nodes to establish a scalable ecosystem with a converged approach to virtualization across multiple suppliers.

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Read the Press Release


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