Small Cell Forum publishes API to drive unified 5G open RAN

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The Small Cell Forum (SCF) has published the PHY API for 5G to encourage a competitive ecosystem for 5G small cell hardware, software, and equipment vendors.

Ecosystem players will be provided an open and interoperable interface between the physical layer and the MAC layer. The PHY API has been developed with the help of a collaborative effort between companies from across the small cell ecosystem, which includes Intel and Qualcomm Technologies among others.

SCF’s initiative within the small cell industry is aimed at buoying up competition and innovation among suppliers of platform hardware, platform software, and application software, by offering them with a common API because of which the suppliers of every component can compete with one another. This allows SCF to provide an interchangeability of parts, which makes sure the system vendors can leverage cutting-edge innovations in silicon and software with fewer obstructions to entry, and limited custom re-engineering.

Writing for Telecoms earlier this month, Automation Consultants’ Francis Miers stated that the use of small cells in HetNets has grown hugely in recent years, partly because they supply network coverage for indoor public spaces, accounting for roughly 80% of today’s mobile data traffic.

Small cells and HetNets are thus vital to modern mobile communications, Miers added, but while standard self-organising networks (SONs) can self-heal, this does not work well with HetNets. As such, operators cannot rely on SON technology with such networks, but mobile operators that use HetNets still need to detect cell failures so the network can react appropriately.

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