The excitement about mainstream virtual reality technology is beginning to grow as more and more of these interactive devices enter the market, which in turn, is driving down costs. These reductions in price are expected to draw in hordes of first time consumers, shepherding in the beginning of mass market adoption. The Greenlight Insights Virtual Reality Report from 2016 projects that VR Content Revenues and market share will shift from a 94.6% focus on enterprise solutions in 2017, to 41% enterprise and 59% consumer by 2026.[1]

The potential for VR technology is massive. Games, movies, and even heart surgeries could rely on state of the art virtual reality technology before long. There will be several hurdles to overcome before this is a possibility, though; primarily, the extremely high bandwidth required to support VR applications.

Even low level 360° VR videos require: “…at least 30Mbps connection, with HD quality streams easily surpassing 100 Mbps, and retina quality(4k+) almost reaching Gbps territory.”[2] Current networks are nowhere near the required bandwidths necessary for mass market VR, and the speed of adoption will be determined by how fast the network operators can upgrade their systems.

There are three principle ways that network operators will support the new data heavy requirements of VR technology.

    1. Small Cell Technology Will Grow

Small cell wireless network solutions are an effective way to increase network speeds in high congestion areas. These routers and repeaters can be placed on lamps, walls, and even drones! Comprehensive small cell networks will help supplement large cell towers with distributed local networks.

    1. Local Computation Solutions

Forget server farms. Virtual reality devices require lots of horsepower to run, and pushing those tasks to a server farm would result in unusable latency, making the most critical VR applications like medical uses too dangerous to rely on. This will require network operators to place computing devices as close to devices as possible.

    1. Increased Network Storage

VR is data heavy, and to store and process video feeds in real time will require greater network storage for a seamless experience.

The wave of VR technology that will be unlocked by wireless headsets will create a drastic need for network upgrades across the world. Network operators will have to focus on new localized solutions that are robust enough to handle HD video feeds and high-level computing. This will mark a shift from large cell towers that put out relatively slow LTE signals, to hyper-fast and signal-dense smart cell technologies.

Want to learn more about the future of wireless network technology and VR? Contact Tessco today!

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