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Open RAN xApps Design and Evaluation: Lessons Learnt and Identified Challenges


[ 1 ] Instytut Radiokomunikacji, Wydział Informatyki i Telekomunikacji, Politechnika Poznańska | [ 2 ] Wydział Informatyki i Telekomunikacji, Politechnika Poznańska | [ P ] employee | [ SzD ] doctoral school student

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[2.3] Information and communication technology

Year of publication


Published in

IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications

Journal year: 2024 | Journal volume: vol. 42 | Journal number: iss. 2

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Open RAN
  • 5G
  • 6G
  • xApp
  • ML

EN The concept of open radio access networks (RAN) creates numerous opportunities for developing new technology and economy branches. At the same time, a flexible and modular approach in the disaggregated RAN entails the need for careful design of the overall RAN architecture and the implementation and deployment process of new applications. It is assumed that dedicated and specialized software companies may deliver the latter. A joint effort must be guaranteed among different sectors (industry, academia, and standardization bodies) to make the whole process efficient, safe, and reliable. Here, one of the critical driving forces origins from the open-source community that often stimulates the development of a specific technology. In this paper, we address the challenges that have to be faced by third-party application developers in the context of Open RAN. Based on many implemented applications (called xApps or rApps), we compare various available solutions. We pose the most critical issues that must be tackled in the near future to stimulate the progress in open RAN development further. In particular, we compare available open platforms for xApp development and testing. We present the details of implementing four selected applications describing the problems encountered. The paper is split into two logical parts - first, we identify the key ambiguities related to the development of new xApps, which address more complicated use cases like beam management. In the second part, we present the challenges associated with detailed software implementation in existing open platforms. In the first case, we show that dedicated beam mobility management xApp can reduce beam switches and keep beam failures low. However, it requires access to detailed localization information. Similarly, the signaling storm detection xApp provides expected performance under the assumption that there is access to detailed information on, e.g., time advance resolution parameter. We conclude here that several aspects still need to be well-defined to allow smooth software implementation; these include the rules for data reporting in time, parameters available in service models, and localization features. Concerning the second logical part, related to low-level implementation, we compare the numerical results of the traffic steering and quality-of-service-based resource allocation xApps and draw conclusions related to implementation and testing. In particular, we point out problems associated with the simulator, the software, and conflicts inside. Finally, we identify the key challenges which should be treated as incentives for joint academia-industry cooperation in the field of Open RAN. Thus, the paper presents the lesson learned during the first years of xApp development.

Pages (from - to)

473 - 486




License type

CC BY-NC-ND (attribution - noncommercial - no derivatives)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

Full text of article

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Ministry points / journal


Impact Factor

16,4 [List 2022]

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