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… CommScope

Company name: CommScope

Company overview: CommScope pushes the boundaries of communications technology with game-changing ideas and ground-breaking discoveries that spark profound human achievement. We collaborate with our customers and partners to design, create and build the world’s most advanced networks. It is our passion and commitment to identify the next opportunity and realize a better tomorrow.

Your name and title:  Stuart Holyoak, director of DAS and Small Cell business development – EMEA

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

With the advent of 5G, the wireless industry is experiencing a major shift from consumer focused, broadband to enterprise focused, in-building solutions. The 3GPP standards organization developed a flexible platform and left the door open for market dynamics, entrepreneurs, and innovators to create applications and new use cases for the vertical industries.

The flexibility, scalability and easy installation of small cells make it an ideal solution for vertical markets. Large deployments of small cells provide in-building wireless as well as outdoor urban/pedestrian coverage. They are also used to support IoT devices, automation in manufacturing environments, spot coverage for retail, additional capacity for an event and coverage at transportation centers. The SCF Market Forecast Report estimates 35.7 million radio units will be deployed between 2019 – 2026 and approximately 70 percent will be enterprise small cells.

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

A major change in the 4G/5G network structure is the transition from proprietary systems to open-source software installed on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware platforms.

In an effort to control costs and encourage competition, there are several 4G/5G open-source initiatives. Functional Application Platform Interface (FAPI) – common standard between chipset, component suppliers and mobile base station integrators. The O-RAN Alliance (O-RAN) –an open, intelligent RAN with virtualized network elements. The Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) – supports orchestration, automation, and end-to-end lifecycle management of network services.

The SCF is very supportive of open standards and is influencing the development of small cell technology. SCF also brings together a diverse ecosystem including mobile network operators, RAN and CORE equipment vendors, system integrators and neutral hosts as well as key industry customers. This unique forum provides a great opportunity for the participants to exchange ideas on product developments, new standards, best practices, lessons learned, and market insights.

 

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

CommScope is an industry leader providing in-building coverage. Mobile network operators, neutral hosts, government agencies, corporate headquarters, university campuses, hotels and stadiums are examples of organizations that are currently leveraging our multicarrier, multiband solutions – ERA® digital distributed antenna system (DAS) and ONECELL® C-RAN small cell.

ERA digital DAS provides high-performance in-building connectivity and has the flexibility to support 4G and 5G concurrently or 5G standalone networks. Our CPRI digital donor card connects directly to an OEM baseband unit (BBU) and helps save space and power.

ONECELL is an innovative single-cell architecture that has no borders or handovers. ONECELL RP5000 multichannel radio points support 4G and 5G technologies concurrently. Our hardware, software, and management interfaces support emerging ORAN architectures and standards.