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… Druid Software

Company name: Druid Software

Company overview: Founded in 2001, Druid is a software development company, based in the Republic of Ireland, who are market leaders in providing cellular core applications and technology for 5G, 4G (PLTE), 3G and 2G private networks.

Your name and title: Tadhg Kenny – SVP Marketing I PR I Strategic Partnerships


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?

The future is bright for 5G small cells. However, there is some frustration waiting for supply. When testing our 5G SA core last year, we noticed that only one 5G RAN vendor had any 5G NRs available. This is improving thankfully as more and more Enterprises want to test the data rates and low latency promised by 5G.

The lack of chipsets, hardware and all the different 5G frequency support in various countries hasn’t help to be fair. The MNO’s push for a more open eco-system has seen RAN vendors understandably start with more complex O-RAN architectures. The MNOs need these options with centralized infrastructure, or they will struggle to deliver the required low latency for 5G use cases. pGSM & pLTE/4G benefited greatly from a simplified and more integrated small cell to core architecture. This will also be key for 5G small cells. We already see several small cell vendors testing more “integrated” gNodeBs with our 5GC.

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 certainly changing the RAN industry from previous Radio Access Technologies with more complex split O-RAN architectures being the norm initially for 5G SA innovation and testing. We are seeing some integrated gNodeBs units coming from vendors now. These simpler, more compact small cells will be very important for Enterprise seeking more simplified cost effective 5G models, who will not need or want multiple servers to support split 5G RAN elements in different locations.

The more the Small Cell Forum can do to highlight these emerging 5G solutions with various RAN and core architectures the better educated the private network eco-system and end users will be in understanding the choices available to them.

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?

With 5G, one of the key drivers we see is at a political level. There are expectations in the G20, for example, to be funding innovation for IoT and digital transformation. The more advanced countries in the 5G race have funded regional test beds and are educating local enterprise on how they can drive efficiencies and gain advantage on the world stage.
A key enabler for this innovation is the availability of cellular spectrum and we see how regulators are responding to this need. We are moving very quickly from a spectrum famine to a spectrum feast in more and more countries.
Those countries that have funded innovation, 5G supply chain, and carefully selected spectrum that is line with frequencies in other countries and is affordable and accessible are more advanced.
Patience is needed in the shorter term as the rest of the 5G eco system matures, but more of the above across the globe will accelerate progress.