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sorefoot

Suggestions for next VIVE Wireless adapter

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 A few suggestions from an ignorant new user:

1. Avoid having wireless communication that interferes with 2.4GHz wifi.  The 2.4GHz is a very darn common frequency and very established in home wifi. Many of us need the reach of 2.4GHz where 5GHz falls short. We also don't want to have to change settings on every cell phone, tablet, Nook, laptop, desktop, and TV that connects to our wireless due to ill conceived design of a toy. Please don't design something that conflicts with common, conventional, widespread devices. If you must be close to 2.4GHz -then connect to, and operate over, the home network just like every other wifi network device. Yeah, home wireless is too slow. So please stay away from 2.4GHz with your next VIVE device.

2. Think outside the box, literally. Have the wireless adapter connect into the HDMI port on the back of the video card, and USB wireless transmitter plug connect into a USB port on the back of the PC. In other words, connect into the same spots the cables do.  This won't use up an additional PCIe lane, use up a card slot, be affected by processor type, GPU type, mother board chip set, or any other internal hardware. It won't increase demand on the CPU. It won't require installing drivers. It won't need bios tweaks. It won't change system requirements. Lots of HDMI transceivers already work this way. Don't reinvent the HDMI transceiver.  These external connections won't be any uglier than the existing wireless device that still wires to an antennae device. This should make pre-release testing much, much easier. It would also result in a product with very broad applications. (Just need the receiver put in a "hat" for gamers or have the whole receiver thing go into pants pocket like the current wireless system battery does. 

3. Avoid having products made by bitter rivals have to work together, in a new way, at an intermediate point. Connect the goesintas to the comesouttas. In the case of USB and HDMI for the headset, the comesottas are outside the PC box. The comesouttas also tend to be very standardized.

4. I would think that by contacting one the many HDMI wireless transceiver companies, you could have the next version built in less time than the AMD compatibility problem has existed. 

 

@stvnxu

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Agree - Best Buy sold me this awesome gaming ($2K+) computer with my VIVE - worked really well - BUT now I can't go wireless because I don't have any room for the card. I am on my 3rd tethered cable BTW that thing gets kinked beyond belief - son playing Climby is the real culprit. Your suggestions are well received - I hope they listen.  

Edited by mtarallo

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@sorefoot, I'm happy to pass along your feedback to our hardware product teams but I'm afraid I don't follow everything here.

  1. The Vive Wireless system doesn't output frequencies anywhere remotely near 2.4/5Ghz - that's actually the key to why it works. The transceivers on the Wireless system are operating in the 58-63Ghz range and fall under the 802.11ad standard. A primary benefit of using WiGig is that it specifically is in a quite part of the spectrum far isolated from 2.4/5Ghz signals which is required for the high-bandwidth, low latency requirements of VR.
    • SteamVR tracked controllers use standard bluetooth (~2.45ghz) to connect to the HMD. If we released a wireless adapter solution that interfered with 2.5Ghz, it would break communication with the controllers.
  2. Our R&D team worked extensively with Intel and Displaylink to develop the highest bandwidth solution that was scalable at the time - WiGig was the only solution that enabled a fast enough and low bandwidth enough solution to drive not only the Vive but would also be forward compatible with the higher bandwidth requirements of Pro and Cosmos using a single core SKU. It still remains the fastest scalable solution currently (although 5G is opening up a huge array potential new technology backbones).
    • It's not enough to take a USB/HDMI/DP signal and converting it to a wireless format. Due to the requirements of VR, we're force to do specialized computing via the IC's on the PCI-e card and leveraging the PCI-e bus to directly interface with the motherboard and it's components to create the WiGig signal. Everything is dynamic - it's constantly working directly with your PC components to dynamically adjust quality and optimize.
    • "Display Standards" aren't as standardized as you might think - especially Displayport. Manufacturers have a huge amount of wiggle in room in how they adopt Displayport into their hardware - each DP device is in essence unique making the idea of a external box you just plug into your PC actually a nightmare scenario for compatibility because it quickly becomes device by device.
    • The exact same is true for USB - it's actually not universal at all on the hardware and driver layer. It's an open standard and OEM's create all sorts of proprietary variants of USB controllers, busses, and hardware solutions which can impact or block VR usage (most notably ASMedia on Asus motherboards).  Some motherboards, especially on laptops actually lack a true xHCI USB port - my Razer laptop only has Razor's proprietary USB flavor.
    • If display and USB standards were more truly standard across the board - a breakout box solution would definitely have been more feasible for gen 1. Under the current OEM landscape, it's actually a compatibility hellscape that would exponentially dwarf the compatibility issues people have faced with the current PCI-e solution. PCI-e is the most standard it gets on the PC side and even then we still saw issues with how AMD MB OEMs integrate the PCI-e standard.
  3. Which bitter rivals are you talking about? I'm not sure what you're saying here.
  4. This circles back to all of the points. Which wireless standard would these transceiver companies use? You can count on one hand the number of technology backbones that can meet all of the requirements for VR displays and aren't co-existing within the  2.4/5Ghz range and few solutions can meet global regulations. There's a reason why Vive wireless is the only first party wireless VR adapter - the engineering challenges are still very complex in 2020.
    • TP-cast is the only other example of a product I can point towards in this space that actually made a product at scale. Since they're not using WiGig, you're forced not only to have a wireless display bridge but you're also required to separately plug in a dedicated 2.4Ghz router to handle just the USB layer which isn't the most seamless UX.

There's a huge engineering challenge with wireless VR - as the only company with a first party wireless solution we're definitely haven't backed down from the challenge but it's important to understand that the design of the current wireless adapter was pretty much the only tech stack that would actually scale at the time. 5G will open alot of development in the type of high-bandwidth low latency radios you need to pull this type of stuff off but ecosystem is still not fully baked. While it may seem that way from an end-user prospective the current Vive Wireless product is the most universally compatible product we were able to release from an engineering prospective in Q3 2018. By having a product in market - we learned a ton about real-world use cases and challenges and we'll be able to take your feedback and the feedback of our enterprise partners and build better products in the future.

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@Mr Harder In short, it has everything to do with compatibility across OEMs and the high bandwidth/low latency requirements. PCIe is about the closest thing you can find to a true universal standard when it comes to PC hardware. You can't use USB because every single OEM develops their own USB hosts and controllers and wires them in a million different ways. Laptops are wired in especially messy ways - virtually each laptop model is uniquely wired. To boot, the wireless adapter uses over 5gbps bi-directional bandwidth and so it needs to have the lowest level of access to the GPU/CPU as possible.

We heavily explored USB options - it was impossible to come up with a USB option that would be compatible with any substantial fraction of motherboards/laptops.

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