Roadrunner: O-RAN-based Cell Selection in Beyond 5G Networks


O-RAN is currently emerging as the way to build a virtualized 5G and beyond Radio Access Network (RAN) that is based on open interfaces and off-the-shelf hardware. O-RAN consolidates the intelligence of several gNodeBs at the Near-realtime RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) making it more programmable and aware of the mobile users’ surroundings. In this paper we present Roadrunner, an O-RAN-based solution designed to improve cell selection in 5G and beyond networks. Our work has been motivated by the fact that the legacy cell selection procedure in both 4G and 5G networks tends to prefer radio quality and seamless connectivity to high data rates. The reason for this can be traced back to the older releases of the mobile network architecture that were optimized for the circuit-switched communication paradigm and for sparse network deployments. However, with an O-RAN-based approach we can leverage the global network view built and maintained by the Near-realtime RIC to jointly optimize mobility management for channel quality and bitrate. We have designed Roadrunner following the O-RAN Alliance design principles and without requiring any change to the existing 3GPP signaling. No changes to the mobile devices are required either. Performance measurements carried out on a small scale testbed show how Roadrunner can almost double the median throughput in some specific traffic scenarios while also achieving better network fairness.

Proc. of IEEE NOMS