ARRIS Gives Us a Hint of the Bandwidth Requirements for VR

Virtual Reality (VR) video experiences will be the next major bandwidth-consuming application, according to ARRIS CTO Charles Cheevers. “We’ll see the early adopters pick up the VR headsets and that’ll drive bandwidth,” Cheevers said, speaking at INTX last month. “I think this year we’re going to see this holiday season a lot of interest in VR headsets.”

Virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree video comes at a time when competition for bandwidth within the home couldn’t be more intense. Between a myriad connected devices, shifting TV viewing behaviors, an entire generation of social video networks, and the growing pool of live streaming video content, consumers are already hungry for more bandwidth in the home. And as digital content creators, publishers and news organizations have all eagerly embraced VR as the next video format, it looks like consumers will want and need even more bandwidth at faster speeds in the near future.

ARRIS estimates that a VR game in 720p will require 50 Mbps, and a 4K VR game (do they exist yet?!) will need 500 Mbps. “So maybe VR is the one that drives the need for gigabit speeds, gigabit Wi-Fi and all that stuff,” Cheevers said.

A slide ARRIS showed at INTX last month comparing bandwidth-hogging application in the home.

Most VR content available now is video games, which players download to local storage on the game consoles to play. “The files for VR are 10 gigabytes to 60 gigabytes in size,” Cheevers said.

At the ARRIS booth at INTX, the company created a mini “living room of the future” demo showcasing the bandwidth hogging applications that’ll hit homes…

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