NEW DELHI: Small Cell Forum (SCF), Thursday published the PHY API for 5G to stimulate a competitive ecosystem for vendors of 5G small cell hardware, software, and equipment.
“The PHY API provides an open and interoperable interface between the physical layer and the MAC layer. 3G and LTE versions are already used in most small cells today,” it said in a statement.
The specification, according to the group has been developed through a successful collaboration of companies from across the small cell ecosystem, including Intel, Qualcomm Technologies, Airspan Networks and Picocom Technology.
5G FAPI is an initiative within the small cell industry to encourage competition and innovation among suppliers of platform hardware, platform software and application software by providing a common API around which suppliers of each component can compete.
Operators are looking for a radically different cost model for 5G networks, one that relies on interoperability and an open, competitive ecosystem. As networks are disaggregated, a critical interface is the fronthaul between a distributed unit (DU) for radio functions and a centralised unit (CU) for protocol stacks and baseband functions.
Open specifications such as SCF’s FAPI will enable operators to mix and match protocol stacks, basebands, and radios from different vendors, and realize the benefits of deploying disaggregated, virtualized RAN (vRAN) networks.
“The economic success of 5G is reliant on interoperable multivendor networks, which require open interfaces at both silicon and network level,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum.
These uniform specifications for equipment and interfaces, according to Orloff would enable limitless flexibility in how cells are deployed and which form factors and suppliers are included.