VR needs 802.11AD for warp-speed wireless

Will Liu, country manager at TP-Link UK, explains what needs to be done in order to take virtual reality to the next level of immersion in this opinion piece.

There was no avoiding Virtual Reality or wireless at CES this year. Gaming announcements focused on the evolution of headset software and developments in sensory technologies rather than fundamental breakthroughs. 

Once a plaything for gamers, VR is now a disruptor across a swathe of industries according to a Deloitte report. The global VR market will balloon from £700m to £31m by 2020, due to falling component prices and adoption across multiple sectors, not least defence.

According to the report, immersive technology is also useful in construction and design, to risk management and natural disaster preparation. Other areas include training, customer service, particularly travel and hospitality where consumers are encouraged to try before they buy.

However, for VR to succeed in these worlds, it needs higher throughput and minimal latency to guarantee a quality experience.

Analysts are heralding wireless AD as one of the key innovations to make VR more affordable and accessible to the mainstream. Also known as WiGig, 802.11AD incorporates the 60GHz frequency to provide a theoretical top speed of 7Gbps. The 60Ghz frequency enables super high speed data transfer over short distances, which for VR means a lot of the data processing power can be integrated into the games console or PC, making headsets lighter and cheaper. 

AD naturally fits with gamers’ desire to achieve the fastest speeds possible. ESports, an exploding market, estimated to be worth more than £80 billion by 2019, despises latency and high ping rates, which can mean the difference between virtual life or death. 

People playing inside graphically complex games also require a decent frame per second (FPS) count. For example, the action game Halo 3 needs over 100 FPS to function.

AD is also being touted as breakthrough technology for streaming, ideally suited to contained spaces that require blisteringly-fast Wi-Fi, AD is a natural partner for 4K HD TVs, homes and businesses that consume high levels of video content.

Approved in 2013, the AD standard has been eagerly adopted by phone manufactures in Asia and is gradually reaching Europe as wireless AD routers hit the market to provide a total solution. TP-Link was the first to launch an AD router, the Talon AD7200, which we see as the natural progression router evolution. 802.11AD will provide the world of VR gaming, our homes and businesses with a steroid injection of speed. Since its launch last year, we can see that consumers are already choosing this technology to maximise their home environment now and be ready for AD devices to hit the market. We believe that early adopters are already developing the market for WiGig in readiness for the market to mature.

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