Are Internet Providers Ready for VR?
by Zen @ ThisIsMeInVR.com
Virtual Reality is here. Its’s awesome and you access it through the internet. Whether you are on your phone, your PC or a standalone you need to download games to play, videos to watch and maybe even want access to live streams. (yes they exist) There is a fast growing collection of recorded (or live): Classrooms, concerts, sporting events, weddings, music videos, movies, scenic travel locations, adventures, excitement, relaxation, therapy, sensory illusions., training lessons, or just plain social media communication. . Are internet providers ready for VR? Not really.
Here’s “the Rub”, for you to be immersed in these VR and 360VR experiences an entire environment is create or captured for you. It is 360, meaning there is data for everywhere you could possibly look. (this is the type of camera you use to capture VR video content) so the content files are HUGE. 1 gig/ per minute for a 4k resolution video. That’s 3–5 times what the internet networks are prepared to process and they are going to have to make some adjustments to handle these changes. Efforts are already being made to reduce the file transfer sizes. But with minimum quality being around 4k resolution and 60+ fps there is only so much that can be done.
“Last mile” broadband infrastructure need to be upgraded (preferably with emphasis on Wifi). This has been accomplished already in many places with wifi routers, and public wifi hotspots being accessed by a single account. Wifi is not necessary for VR , but it certainly has benefits. Especially when VR is used as Augmented reality devices.
Broadband networks need node splits, full sweep, noise hardening and amp upgrades throughout all their systems. This means to simply do some plumbing to the system to eliminate leaks caused by weather and squirrels (they love chewing cables) and upgrade the capacity. Fiber backbones needs to be extended, (currently they cover only the main roads of a city), their coverage will need to be doubled at the very least.
There will also be a need to improve Head End (central office) equipment with the latest color laser technology. That’s a lot of work to do before the network will be able to handle the 360VR content that is about to hit the world like a wildfire. . With the current trend of “cord cutting” internet profit margins are tighter than ever. So it should come as no surprise that you should expect pay-per-gig costs to make a comeback as internet speeds begin to lag in response to VR consumer adoption.