The metaverse is the “next big thing” that will drive the development of other technologies, from home networking to consumer products, applications, and networking equipment. The metaverse has the potential to change how business is conducted in the future. According to Gartner1, 25 percent of people will spend at least an hour a day in virtual shared spaces by 2026. Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets will play an important role in the metaverse experience, with their high-bandwidth and low-latency demands putting enormous pressure on home Wi-Fi networks. Recent data from IDC2 shows shipments of AR/VR headsets passed 11 million units in 2021. This represented a year on year worldwide market increase of 92 percent, and it’s forecast to grow another 47 percent in 2022.
Delivering ultra-broadband services for the metaverseThe immersive user experience of the metaverse requires high-responsiveness and high-bandwidth connectivity. A WBA industry report 20233 summarizes the bandwidth and latency requirements for various VR technologies. The target for extreme VR asks for 1-2.35 Gb/s with 10 ms latency. The broadband network and home network must be scalable to meet these requirements.
Increased deployment of 10G PON / 25G-PON networks and 5G fixed wireless access by communication service providers (CSP) enable the delivery of multi-gigabit broadband services. Meeting the latency requirements in the access and core network nodes requires active queue management techniques like PI2/L4S in addition to imposing other QoS policies.
Given that most of the metaverse will occur indoors, Wi-Fi will have a dominant role to play. It’s predicted to operate at “brain speed”, underlining the importance of the 6 GHz spectrum and driving demand for Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 and beyond. Wi-Fi performance will need to be predictable with low latency and low jitter, as well as sustainable throughput.
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