5G functional API to enable 5G RAN/small-cell vendor ecosystem

April 07, 2020 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
5G functional API to enable 5G RAN/small-cell vendor ecosystem
The Small Cell Forum (SCF) has published an important suite of documents focused on stimulating a competitive ecosystem for vendors of 5G-era small cell hardware, software and equipment.

Expanding upon the 5G Physical Layer API specification, published in July 2019, the new specifications enable small cells to be constructed piece-by-piece using components from different vendors, in order to address the diverse mixture of 5G use cases relatively easily, a common goal to all of the specifications made by Small Cell Forum.

The new release also includes two completely new specifications, SCF223: 5G NR FAPI P19 FrontEnd Interface Specification and SCF224: Network Monitor Mode API for Small Cells.

The new specifications add efficient support for beamforming, mmWave and tighter timing requirements which impact the RF and digital front end provide. They also add an update to the 5G PHY API for small cell silicon and stack vendors, widely adopted in 3G and 4G.

The expanded set of specifications contained in these documents can be found here.

“The RF and Digital FrontEnd control APIs serve as companion documents to the 5G PHY API specification. These documents define the messaging protocols that allow the upper stack to tightly control and configure the RF, the Digital Front End (DFE) and the Analog Beamforming units  – which is crucial in meeting 5GNR’s stringent timing requirements,” Samel Celebi, Principal Engineer at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Thanks to this flexible API, the integration of units from different vendors, and their configurations for a diverse mixture of use cases, becomes relatively easy – a common goal to all Small Cells Forum specifications.”

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