Meta Quest 2 Wireless Dongle to Have Cloud Streaming
Meta’s rumored Air-Link dongle accessory, hints of which first surfaced in April this year, could be capable of streaming content directly from both PC VR and Meta’s VR cloud.
The Meta Quest 2 Wireless Dongle accessory was supposedly designed to simplify Air Link setup and make PC VR streaming easily accessible to the broader masses.
When a user connects the dongle to a compatible USB port on their gaming PC, it functions as a high-quality transmitter capable of streaming PC VR content to their VR headset without requiring a prior network configuration.
Driver references of this accessory were discovered in a Quest code and they show that the hardware isn’t manufactured by Meta itself. Instead, the device uses an existing D-Link wireless dongle that supports Wi-Fi 6 and also works seamlessly with Air Link.
Following the initial reveal, a user manual appeared two weeks later that confirmed the initial speculations and findings. The manual described a USB dongle known as “VR Air Bridge” that ships with an extension cable and a stand that provides optimal line-of-sight placement with the virtual reality headset.
The USB Dongle Could Have a Dual Function
According to YouTuber and XR analyst Brad Lynch, Meta plans to launch a wireless dongle that is codenamed, Ari. Lynch says that it is a USB accessory from D-Link, as initially reported, and that it is marketed as a Meta product under a “Made from Meta” product line.
Meta will be releasing a product, codename Ari, with D-Link under the "Made from Meta" product line
It uses the CloudVR/Avalanche software for AirLink. The majority of the code launched with v42/v43, but due to serious issues they postponed the hardware ship date to v44 (1/2)
— Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) August 25, 2022
The dongle supports the IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standard and you can also connect it to a virtual reality headset through a 5 GHz band.
The Lynch report reveals the USB dongle could also run Meta’s Cloud VR and Avalanche software and will, in effect, provide cloud streaming. This mode could require the computer to be connected to the router through an Ethernet cable. It would still need a local computer as the USB dongle must be plugged into some place.
Should Lynch’s source prove credible, then we could be expecting cloud streaming from Meta much sooner than was initially expected or we could see Meta experimenting with the service in homes much sooner. The Air-Link dongle accessory could hit the market in a few months.
VR cloud streaming offers great potential for the ecosystem. It combines the power of a high-performance computer with mobile standalone virtual reality headsets. Cloud VR streaming allows players to experience much larger and more convincing game worlds as well as new application scenarios, particularly for those who do not own a powerful gaming PC.
Several months ago, there were hints that Meta was in the process of testing a virtual reality cloud streaming solution known as Avalanche. The service was briefly accessed by a Quest user, probably accidentally, and they were able to play a PC VR game via the cloud.
Insider sources reportedly told Lynch that Meta plans to invest in enhancing its infrastructure before it launches the dongle accessory. To realize that, Meta is already working with Verizon, the second-largest carrier in the U.S. to see the potential of the 5G network in the U.S.
Two years ago, Meta’s Jason Rubin said cloud streaming would arrive before 2025. However, it is possible it could arrive much earlier as an experimental feature.