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AlBAO

Maximum number of Vive trackers 2019 with a single pc

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Hello everybody,

I am working on a POC of a VR app that would use a lot of Vive trackers. I am looking for the actual maximum number of vive trackers 2019 that can be tracked simultaneously by a single pc.

I know that the document describes 11 as max but I wanted to know if this was a absolute limit or if someone was able to add more of them.

I can't really invest in a lot of trackers right now so I am here to know if anyone reached the maximum vive trackers limit before i am forced to try myself.

Thank you for reading me,

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@AlBAO:

  • The limit was technically 16 - 11 is what's left open after accounting for Bluetooth receivers in the HMD, the controllers, and basestations. Valve updated the limit sometime last year to 64 but at the time of update that support hadn't trickled it's way into all of the SteamVR plugins. I haven't seen any other release notes from Valve about that specific topic since then - in the least, you'd probably have to update your project to the more recent SteamVR plugins.
  • So in reality, the maximum number of trackers you can have in a space is entirely defined by the  wireless conditions in your environment:
    • Past ~16 trackers, you start to hit "co-channel interference". Bluetooth is simply not a wide spectrum and if you get a bunch of bluetooth devices in close proximity, they start to talk over one another and crowd each other out.
    • When working with more than 10 trackers, I highly recommend disabling all 2.4Ghz WiFi networks in your space. Bluetooth is ~2.45Ghz and so 2.4Ghz WiFi adds to the co-channel interference problem and dramatically lowers your max device count.
    • The trackers ship with a USB-cradle. The idea here is that you want the PC-side dongles spread out as far apart from one another so the transmitters don't talk over one another. If you cluster your dongles together - your performance and max device count will certainly take a hit.
    • Most users report seeing performance issues as they start to cross past the 16 tracker mark but it's entirely dependent on your specific environmental factors.

Each RF environment is different - there are no one size fits all answers beyond the pro-tips I posted above. I'd also like to call out the Vive Input Utility. It makes targeting specific trackers easier which can really count if you're working with a bunch of em'. 

@chengnay Do you have any feedback on this? Does VIU support higher device counts in recent updates?

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Recently, I tred to help a developer on GitHub.

I tested with 1*HMD, 2*VIVE controllers, 2*Base stations and 9 VIVE trackers.

I did not have any additional tracker devices to test whether VIU does support higher device counts or not.

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@VibrantNebula @chengnay

Thank you both for your answers.

I have a better understanding of the situation now.

I successfully gathered 8trackers for now and everything works fine. I can't wait to try out with more since it won't be a problem to connect them directly to the pc instead of using the dongles.

I will be back with results of this little experiment.

Have a nice day !

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@AlBAO -

You'll definitely need to use the dongle - it's not a generic Bluetooth radio, the dongle contains Valve's proprietary "watchman" technologies. Each tracker needs a corresponding dongle. You'd also want to use the little extender (cradle) that comes with the trackers so your dongles have as much physical separation from one another as possible, otherwise the radios will start interfering with one another since they're relatively high power and are transmitting loads of bandwidth for a Bluetooth device.

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NOTE: It is possible that a dongle is paired with 2 trackers(not at the same time).

For example, after power off A tracker, and pair B tracker.

If this issue happens, please try to unpair all trackers and re-pair again.

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@VibrantNebula
sorry my answer was apparently not clear. The trackers are to stay on a desk at a maximum of 40cm from the surface. Therefore I was testing direct connection with the USB cable not via the PC's bluetooth. I thought that would prevent bandwidth saturation but maybe that is a bad way of thinking.

@chengnay
if i understood your message correctly i could have a "paired" tracker A on a dongle and a "waiting" tracker B on the same dongle. When I am done with using tracker A in my app I could power it off then power on tracker B and still use the same dongle ?

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@AlBAO Yes, you got my point.

I just tested on my side, and it works like what I said.

Previously, I encounter with an issue that I do have that many dongles, but I couldn't pair with one last tracker.

It is because 2 trackers were paired with one dongle, so one of the trackers will not be able to pair at the same time.

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