Wireless VR headsets to strain data networks

Wireless VR headsets will further strain telecoms networks, with data consumption from the devices set to grow by over 650% over the next four years to over 21,000 petabytes by 2021, Juniper Research predicts.

When combined with traffic generated by VR headsets connected to PCs and consoles, this consumption will reach over 28,000 petaytes, the research firm said in a new report.

VR requires fast data speeds to stream content effectively, ensuring that by 2021 data demand for each VR device is expected to exceed that of 4G, Juniper Research said. Growth in traffic will be driven by the need for higher image quality and framerates as VR becomes more mainstream.

The report recommends that operators be brought into the VR standards conversation now to prepare for the growth in consumption and help make VR more accessible.

Technologies designed to reduce the amount of data processing required, such as foveated rendering, will also need to be universally adopted.

Meanwhile, although the first wave of the new generation of VR headsets has concentrated on single-user experiences, the report predicts that social VR will play a more important role in the future of the technology.

Companies such as Facebook and WeChat are developing VR platforms and several popular VR games are incorporating social elements.

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“VR is currently seen as very isolating,” research author James Moar said. “The promise of having new worlds to explore is much more compelling when other people can share the experience, which needs social games and social interfaces, as well as the development of cross-platform standards.”

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