What kind of Internet infrastructure does Metaverse need to get out of the island?


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The complete meta-universe world requires an interconnected network of unprecedented scale.

Original title: ” Viewpoint: An islanded meta-universe needs to “turn the parts into a whole”, which will require a major upgrade of the Internet infrastructure
Written by: Barry Collins
Translation: Kyle

The social giant Facebook wants to become a meta-universe company, and the top gaming company Epic Games wants to become a meta-universe company… Most of the world’s largest technology companies want a piece of the pie. But according to an expert, before we can even think about life in a huge virtual universe, we will need to carry out a massive upgrade of Internet networks and technological “cheating”.

The meta universe is a widely discussed concept, and it is gradually spreading to reality. The definition of the meta universe varies, but most people agree that it will be a huge virtual world in which millions of people or their avatars will interact in real time. The meta universe will have its own economy, will span the physical world and the virtual world, and will be available to everyone at any time.

In 20 years, you may be working in the meta-universe. You don’t have to drive to the nearest arena, but you can participate in a rock concert in the meta universe, where there are thousands of other fans at the same time in this virtual stadium. You might be able to put on a pair of AR glasses, walk into an Amazon store in a shopping mall, and then view any of the millions of different items in its inventory in this virtual store.

Large technology companies have already begun to build the “Meta Universe Prototype” project. For example, Facebook’s recently released Horizon Workrooms creates a virtual office where you can interact with colleagues, collaborate on work, and see what your colleagues are doing on their screens. This is not a futuristic concept: if you and your team have the right virtual reality headset, it can experience the existence of the meta universe today.

Horizon Workrooms Virtual Office

The game “Fortnite” developed by Epic is advancing entertainment activities similar to the meta-universe, such as the Ariana Grande concert held in the game earlier this year, which attracted tens of millions of people around the world, but this is just a series The latest performance of this type.

But these meta-universe prototypes are still in isolated islands. For example, you can’t leave the Facebook studio and go directly to the Ariana Grande performance of Fortnite. The meta universe has not yet communicated with each other. To achieve this goal, we need to rethink the entire infrastructure of the Internet.

Meta universe-we need a network of a scale that has never been seen before

Jerry Heinz is the co-founder of Ball Metaverse Research Partners, a company that is doing a lot of research on Metaverse and how we can achieve our goals.

Heinz believes that even today’s huge data centers and faster and faster broadband networks cannot meet the needs of Metaverse. He said in the SamKnows podcast, “I think the biggest challenge before us is actually at the infrastructure level.”

“You need high-concurrency, high-endurance experiences, and the scale of these experiences is something we have never really seen before. At the network level, it’s interesting, but it’s the same problems we have faced throughout the history of the network. These problems It all boils down to our old friends-latency, bandwidth and reliability.”

Imagine a virtual world in which every facial movement, every gesture, every movement of lips must be replicated in real time to make your meta-universe image look convincing. Heinz said that simply transmitting large amounts of data fast enough to avoid delays will require new network infrastructure, new protocols and standards.

“If you interact in real life, obviously this is zero delay,” he said. “When you operate over a computer network, you must obey the laws of physics. This is not the Twitch game we are talking about, but an ultra-low latency experience, because you are looking for that kind of realism. Even with the slightest perception of latency , It won’t feel real-it will make you feel something is wrong.”

On fixed fiber optic networks, latency is not a problem, but on mobile devices, even 5G connections show large latency changes. SamKnows has measured the mobile broadband performance of many countries/regions, and its data shows that in the worst case, the latency on the 5G network may rise to hundreds of milliseconds, which will ruin the meta-universe experience.

“The network itself and the protocols that need to be developed, we must keep [low latency] in mind,” Heinz said, adding that latency “is not the main focus of Internet development so far.”

Find new cheating points

What kind of Internet infrastructure does Metaverse need to get out of the island? The current network needs to be upgraded to avoid disrupting the experience

Just as today’s broadband networks use content delivery networks (CDN) to push Netflix movies closer to the end user, to ensure that the data transmission distance is shorter, Meta Universe will need similar “spoofing” to ensure that the user experience is not disrupted.

Heinz said that games like “Fortnite” “actually predict to a certain extent” where the player will move next, which means that Epic Games can “add a bit of delay to the experience instead of destroying it.”

A similar technology needs to be developed for Metaverse. “We need to invent cheating techniques there… to reduce latency and build an experience.”

How long will it take?

The large-scale infrastructure changes required mean that we will not run a complete meta-universe anytime soon. Mark Zuckerberg once talked about Facebook becoming an E-Universe company in the next five years, but Heinz thinks this timeline is ambitious.

“We need visionaries to guide this. I would love to see Facebook and Zuckerberg push Facebook in this direction, especially in five years. Leaders’ bold vision is needed, especially in infrastructure and Content production can really promote this process, but if they believe this, then amazing things will happen.”

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