Quest 2: Is an official wireless streaming accessory coming?
Air Link is a great feature, but complicated to set up. An official wireless accessory could change that.
Air Link lets you wirelessly stream PC VR content into Meta Quest 1 and 2. Air Link thus combines the best of two worlds: The freedom of movement of the standalone VR headset with the graphics power of a PC.
Normally, the data from the PC is compressed and sent to a router (ideally connected via Ethernet cable), which then streams it to the VR headset (in the optimal case) located in the same room. The chip of the Meta Quest decompresses the data and shows it on the display.
Since routers in the home are often heavily used by multiple parties (this is especially true for routers that do not meet the Wi-Fi 6 standard or higher), it is recommended to purchase a dedicated router that is only used for VR streaming. If the standard router is not in the game room, the dedicated router has the added advantage of not having to run a cable through the home.
However, problems can still occur even with a dedicated router. It is often necessary to go into the configuration menu of the device and make settings to ensure optimal VR streaming. Technical laymen are likely to be overwhelmed here at the latest.
PC VR streaming made easy
Setting up Air Link could be made significantly easier by a USB wireless dongle that is pre-configured for VR streaming, which you plug into the PC and which takes over the role of the dedicated router. This would be a “foolproof” solution that does not require any prior technical knowledge.
It has long been speculated whether Meta is planning an official accessory of this kind. It would be obvious, after all, Meta also launched an official USB cable for Oculus Link, i.e. the wired version of VR streaming.
Then, just under a year ago, John Carmack confirmed that the team was working on wireless hardware, but in the end decided against marketing it. However, he added that the accessory was not off the table and could appear in the future.
Drivers point to official Air-Link dongle
Now there is a new hint about Meta’s Air-Link dongle. Developer and Twitter user kaitlyn~ has noticed a new driver that appears to be intended for an accessory of this type.
The hardware is called “D-Link DWA-F18 VR Air Bridge” and is based on an existing USB wireless dongle from D-Link, which is supposed to work well with Air Link and complies with the Wi-Fi 6 standard.
Well hello there, VR Air Bridge! Seems like Oculus/Meta has added a new driver for this so called “VR Air Bridge”, it seems to be a certified Realtek USB wireless dongle for PCs that is known to work nicely with Air Link.@RtoVR @UploadVR @Basti564 @SadlyItsBradley pic.twitter.com/rBWxn4GsC8
– kaitlyn~ (@ItsKaitlyn03) April 5, 2022
It makes sense for Meta to partner with an established manufacturer for the accessory instead of developing its own hardware. The dongle would likely be optimized on the software side for Air Link operation and then sold as a Meta-certified accessory. An accessory of this kind would definitely make Air Link more accessible.
The accessory is also likely to work with Cambria, Meta’s next VR headset. The device is likely to be marketed as a VR device for productivity compared to Meta Quest 2 – imagine a Mac instead of a gaming console. A straightforward wireless connection with a PC via an Air-Link dongle would be more than useful.