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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Three questions with… arQana Technologies

Company name: arQana Technologies

Company overview: arQana Technologies designs and develops cost-effective next generation of integrated semiconductor components for 5G wireless infrastructure systems.

Your name and title: Victor Torres, VP Marketing

Q1. Your company is a member of the Small Cell Forum, so what is your view on the future of small cells as 5G comes in?

We have not seen the real potential of 5G yet, we are just at the beginning. The current Wireless infrastructure needs to be updated dramatically to unleash the full potential of 5G and for that small cells will play a key role.

5G uses much higher frequencies of transmission and spectrum than ever before. These allow for much faster speeds, capacity and low latency. However this comes with a major drawback, transmissions also have a more limited range.

Therefore, to provide proper coverage, base stations have to be deployed in lower power but higher density groups forming the so-called small cell networks. Those huge numbers of small cells work together to provide a 5G signal across a city or specific area. This solution is intrinsically very different from previous generations, where typically high power base station towers were deployed to cover broad areas.

Q2. How do you see the industry changing at the moment and what can the Forum do to address/improve/or enhance these changes?

5G is coming with a lot of high expectations but for now, this new technology has not been able yet to find its proper and clear use cases where it can excel and show its real benefits, making it hard to justify its massive investment required.

I believe that the industry is at the front doors of experiencing a moment of big change that requires time and a series of relevant success stories to overcome these initial challenges. The key point is to break down the big applications for this technology (i.e Industry 4.0, autonomous driving,…) into smaller customized and concrete use cases.

To be successful on that, all the different stakeholders in the industry ecosystem must work together. Small Cell Forum provides the perfect neutral platform and communication channels for those companies that are part of the wireless infrastructure, to debate openly and come together to find solutions, define specifications and propose best-use cases to overcome the different challenges ahead that the industry is facing.

Q3. In relation to your business, what are some of the key technologies /or policies that are driving the industry (or parts of the industry) forward at the moment, and how can we progress further and faster? 

I believe that now it is extremely important that companies support as much as possible 5G Open RAN. This Global initiative allows networks to be built using interchangeable sub-components from a variety of vendors that can communicate and interact with each other.

Not knowing how the best final solution is, having the possibility to connect, scale up/down and interchange components will certainly help to find those important use cases required for unleashing the full potential of 5G.

Supporting this idea, we are working together with other industry companies in a new white paper for Small Cell Forum, SCF251 with the aim to provide a harmonized view of the different basic block elements and components that conform a small cell and the operability of its different interfaces.
Finally, from a supply chain perspective, having a diversified component selection will help the industry to bring down the costs and de-risk component supplier dependency accelerating small cell market adoption.