The Small Cell Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports small cell deployment worldwide, has signed an agreement to collaborate with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) on operator requirements and recommendations for the virtualization of the small cell layer. The agreement was reached at the 65th ETSI general assembly held in Sophia Antipolis, France, and opens the way for Small Cell Forum’s recommendations to be included in future ETSI use case definitions.
ETSI’s Low Throughput Network Group is already in the process of defining a new visualized radio access architecture and the institute believes there may be an opportunity to align this with the Small Cell Forum’s work on virtualization of the small cell layer, opening up the potential for the development and maintenance of test specifications between the two bodies.
Small Cell Forum and ETSI have been working together since 2010, conducting Plugfests to accelerate the deployment of small cells through interoperability testing. To date four events have taken place where the interoperability of 3G and LTE networks has been tested, with a fifth in June 2014 that tested multi-vendor SON in heterogeneous networks. A remote Plugfest is planned for April with the next face-to-face event scheduled for June.