5G FAPI specs updated with richer 3GPP feature set

5G FAPI suite with richer 3GPP feature set to underpin supply chain diversification

SCF has updated the suite of 5G FAPI specifications which underpin the high-performance low-cost components integral to 5G mobile base stations, whether small cell or macro. This update demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the ecosystem to continually improve the standard, adding new features and maintaining existing ones.

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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.

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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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.

Perhaps the most important development in the RAN of the 5G era is disaggregation. This splits the network’s functions between multiple elements, supporting a high degree of flexibility and scalability. Operators want even more than that however – a key…

SCF Contributors Qualcomm Technologies, Radisys, Reliance Jio,  Picocom, Microchip and Airspan Define Specification to Help Operators Deploy Disaggregated 5G Small Cells London, UK 22nd September 2020 – Small Cell Forum (SCF) today published the first release of the 5G nFAPI…

Contributors

Release document