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Friday, 22 December 2017

3GPP Initiates Common API Framework - North Bound Service API

3GPP- North Bound Service API


For better harmonization and standardization of service provisioning and control, 3gpp has taken the much awaited step to work for north bound APIs. An area where 3GPP has not actively developed standards to achieve this goal is at the ‘Northbound Application Programmer Interface’ level, since the transfer of the Open Service Architecture (OSA) API work to the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), in 2008. 
API image01a
A Northbound API is an interface between an Application Server (either in a mobile operator’s network or external to it - operated by a third party) and the 3GPP system via specified Functions in a mobile operator’s network. 
To realize standardized integration of services with diverse service providers, northbound APIs provide for interaction at the application layer. This makes it possible for mobile network operators to offer a wide range of services beyond prevalent teleservices - voice calls, SMS and data service. Those services can be exposed within the operator network or to third parties in other networks. The figure below is a simple model to illustrate how the Common Framework will develop as the study progresses. The blue lines are defined by for all services accessed by northbound APIs – a common framework. The red lines are specific interfaces to deliver a particular service.
API image02a
3GPP has actively worked over the past decade to provide additional services in the area of ‘machine type communication’ (MTC) which delivers the mobile communications part of some important new sectors, including;
  • The ‘Internet of Things’,
  • Media Broadcast,
  • Vehicle to Everything (including Vehicle to Vehicle, and other use cases)
  • Critical communications
For the 5G
These activities, particularly those related to Broadcast and IoT , have increased interest in standardization of northbound APIs. In Release 14, the “eMBMS Delivery of Media and TV Services” feature provide broadcasters with the ability to directly integrate their services with mobile network operators over standardized interfaces to the 3GPP system. In Release 15, to correspond with OneM2M release 2, 3GPP will include functionality to directly expose Cellular IoT and MTC capabilities via northbound APIs.
This expanding activity across 3GPP has provided the impetus for this new Study on Common API Framework (FS_CAPIF), which has begun to consider common aspects of northbound APIs. The study will focus on architectural aspects such as registration, discovery and identity management that generally apply to all services. Common API Framework Functions could be achieved uniformly for such capabilities as Service API discovery, monitoring and charging.
FS_CAPIF takes into account both the work ongoing within 3GPP as well as frameworks defined by other organizations. It aims to provide recommendations for specific architectural solutions that can subsequently be standardized. At this stage, requirements and issues have been identified and a gap analysis of existing solutions has begun.
While the scope of the study is general to all northbound APIs it is important to support the specific needs of individual vertical service offerings as well. For example, work on Broadcast interfaces has benefited from the participation of 3GPP member organizations actively providing broadcasting services. Similarly, MTC –related service exposure is coordinated directly with OneM2M and involves a wide range of other participants.
3GPP currently focusses significant resources on developing 5G standards. 5G aims to provide distinctive performance and capabilities to meet the needs of specific services. This will intensify the existing focus on integration with service providers in different service domains (often called ‘vertical industries.’) One aspect of this may be a broadening range of northbound APIs designed to expose the capabilities and resources of 3GPP operator’s networks and the broad range of devices communicating over them.
This is a good time to participate in SA6’s Common API Frameworks study. Above fig are from draft TR 23.722, 

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