SCF: Cultivating the Seeds of the Disaggregated RAN

By: Munish Chhabra, Head of Mobility Software and Services Business

Throughout the telecommunications industry, the disaggregation of hardware components from the software is driving innovation and creating opportunities for both operators and vendors through an expanded ecosystem and dedicated standards organizations. The O-RAN Alliance and the Small Cell Forum continue to facilitate collaboration between mobile operators and vendors to define, design and deploy standards which ensure solution interoperability and further promote the adoption of disaggregated RAN solutions.

In late September, the Small Cell Forum (SCF) published its 5G-Network Functional Application Platform Interface, or 5G nFAPI specification, enabling the disaggregated RAN architecture to extend to 5G small cells. 

Source: Small Cell Forum

The FAPI interface supports a disaggregated RAN architecture by providing a common API that the small cell industry – including system vendors, software vendors, and hardware vendors – can use to compete at the component level. The 5G nFAPI 1.0 interface adds a network transport wrapper around the 5G FAPI PHY API to create the split option-6 interface to disaggregate S-RU and S-DU network nodes. 

The SCF has already begun work on the next release of the specification, adding nFAPI framework robustness enhancements and P7 transports enhancements, in addition to support for FAPI P19 Front End Unit and for FAPI P4 Network Monitor Mode. 

In addition, the nFAPI work group is helping to enable a robust ecosystem of solutions by defining management models, transport network requirements, sync and timing design, and test and measurement support. The nFAPI specification and accompanying guide are available for download here

Our Award-Winning Commitment 
Radisys continues to be at the forefront of the disaggregated RAN standards development through contributions to the O-RAN Alliance and the Small Cell Forum. As part of this leadership effort, Ganesh Shenbagaraman, Radisys’ Head of Integrated Products and Ecosystems, serves as co-chair of SCF’s 5G Network FAPI (nFAPI) work group overseeing the development of the nFAPI specification. I’m pleased to share that Ganesh was recently honored with the SCF Chair’s Award for his influential role in the development of the nFAPI specification and management solutions for 5G-nFAPI based Secure Converged Networking (SCN) solutions. 

Radisys provides 5G small cell software solutions for both sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands with support of FAPI and nFAPI open interfaces to work seamlessly on SoC based small cell platforms.

Additional Resources: Small Cell Open RAN Webinar  
The Small Cell Forum recently hosted the “Small Cell Open RAN” webinar where Ganesh Shenbagaraman joined panelists from Qualcomm, Reliance Jio and Picocom to discuss the FAPI and Option6 open interfaces and their applications within 3GPP and O-RAN Alliance frameworks. Access the archived webinar here to learn more.  

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