Wireless VR to grow over 650% by 2021, massively straining data networks

Wireless VR to grow over 650% by 2021, massively straining data networks

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Wireless VR via smartphone-based and standalone headsets will leave data networks strained, generating 21,000 petabytes of traffic by 2021, said to be equivalent to a massive three billion hours of 4K video streaming!

That figure is 21,000 petabytes. That’s 21 million terabytes.

The research gurus at Juniper have forecast that wireless virtual reality (VR) headsets, of both the smartphone-based and standalone variety, will see data consumption “grow by over 650% over the next four years, from nearly 2800 PB (Petabytes) in 2017 to more than 21,000 PB in 2021.

The details are outlined in the company’s new research, entitled: “Virtual Reality Markets: Hardware, Content & Accessories 2017-2022,” which as always is on sale to relevant parties at relevant prices.


The report found “that data consumption will reach over 28,000PB when combined with traffic generated by VR headsets tethered to PCs and consoles, placing significant additional strain on both wired and wireless networks”.

As you might expect, the report identifies the key trends and opportunities in the space for a range of players, and gives extensive market forecasts highlighting the key opportunities in the sector, split by PC-based VR, console-based VR, smartphone-based VR, standalone VR, VR peripherals and 360-degree cameras.

So what of the data demand, and the growing challenge this promises?

Well, as Juniper reminds us, “VR requires fast data speeds to stream content effectively and, by 2021, the data demand of each VR device is expected to exceed that of 4K”.

In addition, this will be “driven by the need for higher image quality and frame rates, a developing problem as VR becomes more mainstream”.

So, in order to make VR more accessible, Juniper’s report “recommends bringing network operators and broadband providers into the VR standards conversation now”.

The company also argues that “the future data demand needs to be taken into account when considering specifications like minimum frame rate and resolution. In addition, technologies which reduce the amount of data processing, like foveated rendering, need to be rolled out and become universal”.

And what about social VR?

Here, the research also found that “social VR is on the rise. Facebook and WeChat are currently developing VR platforms and several VR games, most notably Star Trek: Bridge Crew, have social elements. These platforms are designed to bring more users into the VR ecosystem by offering new social interactions”.

Research author James Moar said that: “VR is currently seen as very isolating. The promise of having new worlds to explore is much more compelling when other people can share the experience, which needs social games and social interfaces, as well as the development of cross-platform standards.”

As per usual, a whitepaper is available to tempt you into purchasing the full research paper, and is freely available, billed as “How Oculus Killed VR Development & How to Fix It.”

Juniper’s infographic is below:

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