5G FAPI suite continues to evolve to meet industry needs

SCF has updated its 5G FAPI suite, and released a new specification SCF229 5G FAPI Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) Protocol For Inline High-PHY, bringing to Open RAN fuller virtualized support of inline High-PHY implementations in O-RAN Alliance architecture. These latest releases are further indication of the FAPI suite evolving and meeting industry requirements, and it demonstrates SCF’s commitment to consistently updating and expanding the APIs.

Small Cell Open RAN

A catalyst for new 5G business models

The development of Open RAN architectures is one of the most discussed topics in the mobile networks industry, but also one of the most misunderstood. Sometimes obscured by a great deal of hype, politics and flawed assumptions, this is nevertheless a subject associated with a very significant objective – to ensure that all the hardware and software elements of a radio access network (RAN) can interoperate, even when they come from different suppliers.

And if this objective was achieved it would drive several important changes in the 2020s. It would:

  • enable established operators to access broader bases of innovation and avoid supplier lock-in;
  • lower barriers to new deployers, especially in greenfield scenarios such as large enterprises, by driving a broad ecosystem of equipment at all price and performance points;
  • lower barriers for new suppliers of equipment, software, chips and services to enter the market and be competitive with established vendors.

This brief report aims to provide a crisp and accessible overview of Open RAN – what it is and what it’s not, along with a short overview of SCF activities in this space. It also provides important market research data, shedding light on how various Open RAN solutions are addressing diverse usage, deployment and operational scenarios, and importantly it includes a collection of case studies – deployments.

Small cells supporting open RAN architectures by environment, and percentage of total deployments that support these architectures

The rise of demand in enterprise environments

Rising demand for cellular networks in enterprise environments – to support high quality in-building connectivity, or to enable new processes and use cases in industrial campuses – is particularly important in making Open RAN a necessity now. It is also the reason why we expect early Open RAN deployments to be led by small cells. Figure 2 shows our forecast for the deployment of small cells supporting Open RAN architectures, and by 2026 we expect open systems to account for 80% of total new small cells deployed, a far higher figure than the 45-50% predicted in the macro network.

Case studies

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. worked with T&W to demonstrate a unique white box solution for small cell Open RAN. This combines elements of the Small Cell Forum and O-RAN specifications to maximize flexibility and cost efficiency, and to make roll-out as…

In partnership with The West of England Combined Authority (WECA*), Cellnex will deploy and operate a 5G private network based on Open RAN architecture and coordinate the development 5G innovative services for Bristol Port and Gravity Smart Campus. The project,…

The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC) is a joint programme between Digital Catapult and Ofcom (UK) to test interoperability and integration of open networking solutions, vendors and system integrators. Funded by the UK government and Ofcom, SONIC aims to…

The PC802 ‘ORANIC’ is an Open RAN PHY and NIC board and contributes to the diversity of RAN architectures. It is an SCF Small Cell Awards 2021 winner for innovation in easing small cell deployments. It targets O-DU applications in…

Radisys’ Release 16 compliant 5G NR protocol software supports low latency use cases for 5G private networks. Radisys’ Connect RAN 5G solution, based on specifications from 3GPP, the Small Cell Forum, and the O-RAN Alliance, enables an elastic and agile…

Aberdeen City Council sought a solution provider that could enable high-capacity, dedicated and contiguous coverage to over 4km-sq of the city centre with the ability to support commercial cellular, private network functionality and O-RAN during its lifecycle. The Council ran…

Release document