Are We Ready for the Metaverse Broadband Infrastructure?
When Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was rebranding as Meta in October 2021, he introduced the concept of the Metaverse to a larger audience. And while the Metaverse was around before Zuckerberg, the world has only now started to engage in a slew of online debates about its potential adoption.
The prerequisite for a mass-scale adoption of this futuristic VR concept is a well-developed Metaverse broadband infrastructure. Simply put, if we adopt the Metaverse, we’ll need more data, higher internet speeds, lower latency, and other factors that contribute to outstanding worldwide connectivity.
Gartner reports that 25% of people will spend at least one hour daily in the Metaverse by 2026. The harsh reality is that many people can’t spend any time in the Metaverse simply because of insufficient broadband infrastructure. The digital divide is already hurting millions of Americans, and it’ll only further societal inequalities once the bandwidth-heavy Metaverse enters the mainstream.
In this blog post, we explore the Metaverse, how it works, what you can do in the metaverse, and what a metaverse broadband infrastructure of the future might look like.
What is the Metaverse?
In 1992, Neal Stephenson coined the term ‘Metaverse’ in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash.” In it, people escaped into the digital realm to run away from the dystopian reality. They explored this virtual reality with avatars, virtual representations of themselves.
Now, three decades since Stephenson released the novel, the Metaverse doesn’t seem all that futuristic. These are some Metaverse examples with millions of active users:
- Second Life
Simply put, the Metaverse is a virtual space where people can theoretically do anything they do in ‘real life’: Talk, meet, explore, shop, invest, work, and more.
Invest in virtual real estate
Users and companies alike are buying virtual land with the platform’s native cryptocurrency tokens. Each plot of land is an NFT (non-fungible token). Just like in real life, the real estate value varies based on its location.
Meet and work with your remote colleagues
Remote workers don’t share their space with anybody and only talk to their work colleagues in a 2D video call. On the other hand, Metaverse platforms offer companies an opportunity to connect remote teams in a 3D environment.
That way, employees feel like they’re in the same room as their colleagues, fostering seamless work collaboration. Just like in a real office, remote workers can walk around the Metaverse, have their own office, and bump into other coworkers.
Create, sell, and purchase art
The art world is also jumping on the Metaverse bandwagon. The virtual space can work as an exhibition space, opening the gates to new artistic expressions and works of art.
Additionally, art pieces can be sold as NFTs, which helps artists and buyers prove the authenticity of their artwork.
Many retailers have already picked up on the potential for shopping within the Metaverse. Additionally, the Metaverse already has a so-called TheMall, a huge shopping center with 100 million square meters. It could very well be that in the future, having a Metaverse store will be the equivalent of today’s online shop.
Attend Metaverse events
People might not be in a physical concert venue, but at the Metaverse concert, they can feel as if they’re right there with others. During lockdowns, the Metaverse concerts were a welcome opportunity for people to gather without any health risks. In 2020, 12.3 million people attended Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert.
Via: Epic Games
The Metaverse Calls for an Updated Broadband Infrastructure
If we want to work, socialize, shop, and attend concerts in the Metaverse, our society needs fast and reliable internet across the board. We need to update to a Metaverse broadband infrastructure!
But can current WiFi really support the Metaverse? Unfortunately, the current infrastructure can’t guarantee access into such elaborate cyberworlds for everyone. Most households don’t have sufficient internet broadband to roam the Metaverse.
A call for a Metaverse broadband infrastructure isn’t new. The way we use the internet has changed dramatically since it first entered our households in the nineties. And since then, ISPs increased the broadband infrastructure many times to support the growing needs of end users. Today, we consider broadband crucial infrastructure in our communities, with positive impacts on health and life outcomes.
How much bandwidth does the Metaverse require? You need gigabit internet for the Metaverse. The more immersive the platform, the more bandwidth you’ll need to join. You need at least 1 Gbps to experience the Metaverse as an observer, and up to 5 Gbps to enjoy a fully immersive VR experience.
What the Metaverse Broadband Infrastructure Will Look Like
We’ve established that the Metaverse can only run on gigabit internet. Fiber internet typically offers gigabit speeds, and it’ll play a crucial role in the Metaverse broadband infrastructure of tomorrow.
Below, we go over several internet requirements for the Metaverse. While some are already widely available, others are yet to become mainstream in the world of broadband.
The Metaverse Requires Lower Latency
If our future selves want to spend time in the Metaverse, we will need to have an internet connection with low latency.
We measure latency in milliseconds, and it tells us how much time it takes for a signal to travel from our computers to the server. The less time it travels, the lower the latency.
Every time we want to do something online, for example move our avatar, we are sending that signal to the server. The server then needs to receive that signal for us to move.
If the signal travels for too long and we have high latency, our avatars move with a time delay, also known as lag. Just as there are many things we can do to fix lagging, there are many things we need to enjoy the best Metaverse broadband infrastructure.
The Metaverse calls for even lower latency than gaming. While the optimal latency for gamers ranges between 20 and 40 milliseconds, the Metaverse requires less than 20 milliseconds.
Symmetrical Connection: More Upload Speeds!
In the current broadband infrastructure, many internet users still have asymmetrical internet connection. That means that their download speeds are faster than upload speeds. Unlike asymmetrical connection, symmetrical internet offers the same amount of download and upload speed.
Traditionally, asymmetrical connection makes sense. We need download speeds for streaming and browsing the internet. But when the pandemic normalized work from home, we started using more upload speeds, too. We need upload speed to upload files online, use collaboration tools, post on social media, send voice messages, and use videoconferencing apps.
The Metaverse, too, will need significant upload speeds to work smoothly. Symmetrical internet connection is a must for a new, Metaverse broadband infrastructure. Users with low upload speeds won’t be able to explore virtual reality without constant interruptions.
Implementation of Edge Computing
So far, we’ve established that the Metaverse broadband infrastructure needs to withhold high data transfers at constant low latency. However, that is hard to achieve with the current infrastructure that relies on big data centers and servers that can be far from internet users.
But with edge computing, data would no longer need to travel far to those data centers, which diminishes latency and saves bandwidth. Instead, it brings the computing networks closer to the user. Some believe edge computing holds the key to the Metaverse broadband infrastructure.
Higher Data Compression Capabilities
Aside from network requirements for the Metaverse, we also need to optimize the way data works. For example, we’ll need better resolution or risk a clunky Metaverse experience. But with higher resolution also comes a demand for better data compression capabilities. Data needs to be compressed in real time for the best Metaverse experience.
Fiber Internet as a Foundation of the Metaverse Broadband Infrastructure
The Metaverse has captivated people and businesses alike. Some believe it signals the new era of the internet – an era of immersive experiences that’ll transform how we meet, work, shop, and consume content. However, the current broadband infrastructure isn’t yet equipped to support the Metaverse at a larger scale.
What the Metaverse broadband infrastructure needs is gigabit internet with symmetrical speeds. The solution lies in edge computing and fiber internet. Fiber internet works at the speed of light and can reach speeds of 100Gbps. That is enough for the entire household to join the Metaverse – and more.
Race Communications is racing to the Metaverse broadband infrastructure. We’re launching 10Gbps internet soon and we’re proud to be the first ISP that offers 10Gbps internet in California.
If you’re interested in our services, reach out to our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry. We’re here to help.