Small Cell Forum’s nFAPI to Help Operators to Deploy Virtualized HetNets with SON Capabilities

Small Cell Forum’s nFAPI to Help Operators to Deploy Virtualized HetNets with SON Capabilities Image Credit: Small Cell Forum

Small Cell Forum(SCF) has unveiled the latest small cell specifications covering nFAPI (network functional application platform interface) for next generations mobile networks. The document, ‘nFAPI and FAPI Specification’, is published as part of Small Cell Forum’s Release 7, a technical and commercial blueprint for deploying virtualized and open HetNet and SON (self-optimizing network) and laying the foundations for 5G.

SCF cited that a major recent MNO survey found that 58% of operators plan to implement small cell virtualization by 2020, but 80% of those believe open APIs are essential to their plans.

The nFAPI is a set of interfaces for supporting a virtualised MAC/PHY split that will be pivatol in ensuring future interoperability for virtual small cell networks, enabling multivendor C-RAN economics. This unified framework helps operators to implement virtualized RAN and allows small cells from different vendors to work together seamlessly, enabling operators to deploy dense networks that will be interoperable and future-proof, and can combine physical and virtual elements. As operators start to deploy dense, self-organizing HetNets – the overall theme of Release 7 – the interoperability vision becomes even more important, said SCF.

Mark Grayson, Cisco & SCF Virtualisation Champion
Operators are starting to implement centralization of small cell functionality together with virtualization and make plans for 5G, but as they make these significant commitments, they need to be sure that their deployments are open and future-proof.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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