Both wireless and wired networks are expected to face significant strain as data consumption from wireless virtual reality headsets explodes over the next four years, a new report from Juniper Research indicates.
The firm predicted data consumption from wireless VR headsets will skyrocket from almost 2,800 PB in 2017 to more than 21,000 PB in 2021 – an increase of 650 percent. That amount of data is equivalent to over 3 billion hours of 4K video streaming.
When combined with tethered VR headset traffic, data consumption from VR overall will jump to more than 28,000 PB in the coming years. The firm said this massive traffic load will put substantial strain on both wireless and wired networks.
By 2021, VR devices will require more data demands than needed for 4K, propelled by the need for higher image quality and frame rates, according to Juniper’s report.
The firm suggested network operators and broadband providers need to get involved in the VR standards conversation starting now so that VR can be more accessible. Juniper contended that future data demand must be considered when thinking about specifications such as resolution and minimum frame rate. The report also recommended that technologies like foveated rendering, which decrease the amount of data processing, be deployed and widely adopted.
While it’s anticipated that the majority of streamed VR will be trafficked over WiFi, most of the consumption will come from smartphone VR devices, so cellular networks must also provide added capacity to deal with extra data consumption.
It is not clear whether Juniper’s report took into account the impact of Gigabit LTE technologies. Experts from Qualcomm recently told Wireless Week the deployment of Gigabit LTE features will help improve network efficiency, decreasing the amount of network resources needed to serve customers. For instance, Qualcomm reps said Gigabit LTE allow carriers to deliver video with a fraction of the network resources needed today. More on that here.
The virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) market continues to grow, with more than $800 million invested in the technologies during the second quarter of 2017, according to Digi-Capital. The firm reports that number rounded out more than $2 billion invested across 27 VR/AR sectors in the last 12 months.
Juniper’s full report, “Virtual Reality Markets: Hardware, Content & Accessories 2017-2022,” can be found here.