Split option 6: nFAPI evolution

Spearheaded by some of the world's leading operators, this specification development program is focussed on 3GPP's split option 6 (MAC-PHY) and builds on our earlier nFAPI outputs.

Four years ago, we published our nFAPI specifications, a set of interfaces for supporting virtualized small cells employing a MAC/PHY split. Our aim was to ensure interoperability for virtual small cell networks, enabling multi-vendor C-RAN economics in the context of 4G and enabling a smooth evolution path to 5G.

This unified framework was developed to allow 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. We are now evolving this work in the context of 5G, with a program focused on split option 6 nFAPI open specification development.

This program of specification development is well-developed, focussed on the elaboration of 5G-nFAPI interfaces and S-RU and S-DU management solutions. There are three planned outputs:

  • 5G nFAPI first Release – comprising P5 and P7, timing and sync aspects
  • SCF M-plane (O&M aspects) – describing alignment with O-RAN M-plane, the mapping of P5 parameters to O-RAN WG5/WG4 parameters, and guidance and recommendations for small cell implementations
  • YANG models for option 6 – NETCONF/YANG provides a standardized way to update and modify the configuration of a network device.