Oculus Air Link Wireless Streaming Now Open for All With v28 on PC and Quest 2
Facebook had already released its Air Link feature. Now the feature is open to everyone who has updated both their Oculus Quest 2 and the Oculus PC app to version 28. The announcement was made last week by Facebook’s head of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth.
Looks like the excitement over Air Link can’t be contained, so we’re officially making it available today for everyone who has both Quest and PC v28. If you don’t have v28 yet, stay tuned, it’s coming very soon!
— Boz (@boztank) April 23, 2021
For users who don’t have the latest version, it will be arriving “very soon”, Bosworth tweeted.
The Air Link is a wireless PC VR streaming solution for Oculus. It is like the Oculus Link connection but without the cord. Hence, it allows PC VR games to be streamed wirelessly to an Oculus Quest 2 headset via your local network and router. The Air Link feature was announced as part of Facebook’s v28 update for the Oculus Quest platform. The update is already gradually rolling out to VR headsets across the globe. When the feature was announced, Facebook had stated that the 120Hz Air Link along with the physical keyboard tracking would only be available on the Quest 2 headset at launch.
There are users who have already gotten the v28 software update although the Air Link feature wasn’t enabled for them yet. Certain Reddit users found a workaround based on ADB commands to force the Air Link feature to start even if it isn’t enabled yet. This has allowed them to try out the feature even before it has been officially turned on. Oculus Support responded to these workarounds by stating that it is not endorsed and that the official Air Link support will be available from sometime next week.
PSA: Seeing a surprising amount of effort put into using Air Link on Quest 2 pre-release. I guess it goes to show how much folks care about it! However, be aware that the perf you're getting with the hack is not representative of what to expect when the feature goes live soon.
— Volga Aksoy (@volgaksoy) April 23, 2021
In a tweet, Oculus software engineer Volga Aksoy warned that Air Link performance with the workaround may not actually reflect the Air Link performance when it will be officially enabled and encouraged users to wait until next week t0 accurately judge the performance of the Air Link feature.
The Air Link is a Gamechanger
The Air Link will, undoubtedly, be one of the most coveted features ever released by Facebook so far for Oculus Quest. Officially, users could only stream to the Quest headset via a USB Cable using Oculus Link connection which was launched in 2019. Air Link now allows Oculus Quest 2 users to stream PC VR games to their VR headsets wirelessly using home Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi streaming isn’t new in Quest usage, though. The VR app Virtual Desktop, for instance, has been supporting wireless data transmission for close to two years now and is quite popular with Quest users thanks to its top quality Wi-Fi streaming.
Many users have been eagerly anticipating Air Link as it is the official Oculus solution for wireless streaming and might, therefore, work a lot better than the Virtual Desktop. The official Oculus Quest 2 wireless streaming is supposed to support the rendering technology ASW, for instance, which allows for a smoother gaming experience and which could also be compatible with more virtual reality games than the Virtual Desktop currently permits.
Air Link via Sideloading and Unofficial Hacks
The Air Link feature was announced on April 13th as part of the Quest update v28. Since April 19th, the v28 update has been rolling out to Quest users in stages. Based on past experience, the rollout might take up to two weeks to reach all users.
This has not dampened the enthusiasm for many Quest 2 users for the wireless streaming option, many of whom are now adding Air Link to their headsets via other means. The update is currently circulating as a file on the internet which can be installed manually via sideloading. On Reddit, there is even a specially developed hack that helps with the activation. Oculus has warned that such methods might not give users the desired streaming performance. Air Link activation will be available from this week. Facebook wants the latest update to fully roll out to Quest users before the Air Link wireless streaming is activated. That is expected to happen this week. If you are wary about the Reddit workarounds and want to experience an optimal Air Link performance, you have to wait patiently for just a few more days.
Keep in mind that Air Link currently supports only Oculus Quest 2 so it won’t be coming to the original Oculus Quest headset. It is not yet known when the feature will arrive in the standard Oculus Quest headset.
What You Need for Air Link Streaming
To prepare yourself for the Air Link wireless streaming, Oculus recommends a 5Ghz dual-band router of IEEE 802.11ac or IEEE 802.11ax standard that is connected to a PC via an Ethernet cable and which is no more than six meters away from an Oculus Quest 2 headset. The computer should be VR-ready and meet the minimum requirements for Oculus Link. Check out the Oculus support page for additional information.