21 October 2020
OpenRF Association formed
The Open RF Association has been formed as an industry consortium dedicated to expanding the functional interoperability of hardware and software across multi-mode RF front-end and chipset platforms into the 5G era, responding to customer demand for open architectures. Founding members include Broadcom Inc, Intel Corp, MediaTek Inc, Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd, Qorvo, and Samsung.
OpenRF aims to deliver an open framework that standardizes hardware and software interfaces without limiting innovation, while enabling total flexibility for 5G device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to take advantage of time-to-market, cost, performance and supply chain benefits. OEMs will be able to choose interoperable best-of-breed solutions from a multi-vendor ecosystem, while using the same RF front end with any 5G baseband.
“Wireless device manufacturers have historically relied upon a robust ecosystem of best-in-class solutions to differentiate and optimize their products’ overall performance,” says Eric Creviston, president of Qorvo Mobile Products. “The Open RF Association essentially standardizes this time-proven framework while simultaneously fostering greater innovation and helping accelerate the delivery of next-generation 5G devices,” he adds.
OpenRF is supported by a diverse group of global chipset providers, RF front-end vendors and device manufacturers, all working towards enabling a multi-vendor 5G ecosystem. The organization aim to satisfy customer requests to advance the industry’s interests by enhancing the traditional reference design process to drive best-in-class configurable solutions to market faster. OpenRF plans to:
- create a set of core chipset and RF front-end features and interfaces that will enable interoperability across 5G basebands while allowing innovation across vendors;
- build on industry standards to maximize configurability and effectiveness of the RF front end;
- develop a common hardware abstraction layer enhancing the transceiver/modem and RFFE modules interface; and
- define and develop industry-leading approaches to RF power management.
OpenRF plans to develop a compliance program to support a robust ecosystem of interoperable RFFE and chipset platforms.
Ongoing development of the MIPI RFFE specification, which has become the de-facto interface for control of the radio-frequency front end since its release in 2010, will continue to be coordinated within MIPI Alliance’s RFFE Working Group. OpenRF is currently working toward a liaison agreement with the Alliance.
“The RF front-end market has become extremely complex, so the industry increasingly needs structure to deal with the complexity,” says Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts. “By standardizing some common elements, the Open RF Association will allow RFFE vendors to focus their R&D attention on the sharp point of innovation,” he adds. “Making common building blocks in non-competitive areas will also speed up time-to-market, ensure compatibility across generations and between different platforms, and will save millions of dollars through improved economies of scale. All of this is possible without diminishing the fierce competition between vendors.”
The OpenRF is open to smartphone chipset, RFFE and OEM vendors and related industry companies.