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Small Cell Forum releases updated 5G FAPI and 5G nFAPI specs, extending the feature sets – including NR positioning and 7.2x FH status awareness

SCF’s 5G FAPI suite specifications continue to evolve to meet industry needs and 3GPP alignment

London, UK, 27 July 2022 – Small Cell Forum (SCF) today announced the release of three updated specifications within the 5G FAPI suite – 5G FAPI PHY API, 5G FAPI: P19 RF and Digital Frontend Control API, and 5G nFAPI.

The specifications are used in millions of the world’s system-on-a-chip (SoC) small cells. FAPI sits at the crucial confluence of L1 hardware and L2 application and can be utilized in a variety of disaggregated RAN architectures (ranging from fully integrated to split-2/6/7.2x).

nFAPI is an interface for supporting a virtualized MAC/PHY split and is pivotal in ensuring interoperability for virtual small cell networks, enabling multivendor C-RAN economics today as well as a smooth evolution path to 5G.

The continual development of the FAPI specifications by SCF, with commitment to regular release updates, ensures the maturity, performance and relevance of the APIs, as well as their alignment with other major industry standards.

New and updated features in SCF222 5G FAPI PHY API:

New features:

  • New radio (NR) positioning (Rel-16)
  • 7.2x FH status awareness

Updated features:

  • Delay Management: added timestamp-free option
  • Shared-memory: streamlined throughout the specification; support for 64-bit pointers
  • Robust error handling: extended status report, P5 timeouts
  • Mixed numerology: updated to account for new features since FAPIv2, clarity and performance.

New and updated features in 5G nFAPI:

  • Continuing alignment with evolution of FAPI specifications
  • Optimizations in nFAPI headers and messages
  • Recommendations for non-ideal fronthaul as nFAPI transport

SCF member companies involved in the development of the upgraded specifications this year were: Qualcomm, Radisys, Picocom, Reliance Jio, BT and Analog Devices.

Andrei Radulescu, FAPI Rapporteur and Senior Staff Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. said: “Small Cell Forum is a key enabler for RAN disaggregation. Multiple splits associated with virtualized open network architectures are made possible by the Forum’s continuing evolution of the FAPI interface, which provides the essential link between the software functions of the MAC and hardware functions of the physical layer.

“FAPI facilitates the further modularization of the network while at the same time enabling the flexibility and economies that come with an open ecosystem. This is why the ongoing maintenance and development of these specifications is so important, as well as their continuing alignment with the 3GPP roadmap and O-RAN interfaces.”

The complete SCF FAPI specifications suite comprises:

  • 5G PHY FAPI, SCF222 v5.0, main data path and PHY mode control
  • P19 RF and Digital Frontend Control API, SCF223 v4.0
  • SON FAPI, SCF224 v1.0, network monitor mode for 2G-5G
  • 5G Network FAPI, SCF225 v3.0, transport wrapper for PHY and RF API.
  • S-RU and S-DU Test Support, SCF228 v1.0, conformance testing for Open6 products
Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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