Meta’s stated mission is to seamlessly connect disparate environments such as work, social media, and gaming so that it can allow people to live and work effectively in the virtual space.
Obviously, this will have a significant and sustainable impact on our networks. We’re not just talking about the need to be constantly connected, without errors; We’re talking about fully immersive content that streams smoothly, in 4K and 8K resolution, with low latency and minimal lag.
We’ll need to be able to transition from one experience to the next without getting distracted by reboots, the operating system, app load times, network congestion, or anything else that suggests we’re not in a smooth virtual environment.
Achieving all of this makes virtual life seem as difficult as moving to Mars.
However, it is possible to make the journey to our new virtual world frictionless. We just need to make sure that we put in place the necessary building blocks for virtual life.
Starting today, we have the opportunity to make metaverse more habitable and hospitable, a place where our virtual selves can thrive, not just survive.
Bandwidth is the key
We’ll need a lot of bandwidth to make this work at scale. Much like water is a building block of life, there is no way we can operate in the metaverse without bandwidth. We need a high-performance connection capable of supporting the various requirements of bandwidth-hungry applications in the metaverse.
This bandwidth must also be broad and affordable to better support our underserved and disconnected communities. Virtual world visions often focus on equal opportunities for everyone to create and explore. For this to happen within the metaverse, we need to ensure a level playing field for real-world communication first.
Low latency is as critical as air
Bandwidth is one thing, but if it takes an avatar we take several seconds to respond – or worse – meta life suddenly becomes annoying and inhospitable. We already find it frustrating to be late when streaming sports or online games, and this will only be exacerbated when we try to fully immerse ourselves in a virtual world.
Technology such as edge computing, which can reduce network latency and improve reliability, will become increasingly important in networks that require a real-time response.
Virtual Machines: Metaverse Infrastructure
We’ve all been there: hardware failure, and we need to fix it. At that time, we need to be able to survive without whatever function that piece of hardware does. But that couldn’t happen in the metaverse – or at least it shouldn’t, because we had to use virtual functions for most of what the metaverse requires.
Deploying infrastructure functionality using machine concepts and virtual containers where they, like applications, can be deployed across the network at scale and in real time will be key. Traditional network functions such as routing and switching will need to be fully virtualised. It should be easily updated, upgraded, patched and published.
Software Intelligence: Mayor of Metaverse
We need the metaverse to be software defined to enable it to run quickly and smoothly. It’s the equivalent of a government or local council being able to fix our roads, remove trash, and control the flow of traffic in real time. This generally happens today in real life without us knowing, until it stops working and we wonder what happened.
Automation and artificial intelligence, backed by programmable software capabilities, hold the key to help speed the delivery of network bulletins, making them more intuitive and scalable.
The adaptive programmable virtual network will be able to identify fault and self-heal, without the need for an actual truck roll. It can pull resources – computation, storage, and bandwidth – from underutilized areas to condense other parts of the metaverse to see increased activity and automatically return when needed.
Over the next several years, we’ll hear a lot of talk about the metaverse, but any use-case innovation won’t happen without the required network innovations. An adaptive network that provides program-controlled, high-capacity, low-latency connectivity will be more important as a foundation for the future metaverse than current cloud applications.
The building blocks are already in place for the artist formerly known as Facebook to build a hospitable metaverse, and as these technologies continue to evolve—driven by an expected surge in innovation among tech developers looking to take advantage of the emerging metaverse—the Meta will have more of the world’s building tools to work with.
Simply put, it is not easy to build a virtual world, but it is certainly something we can bring closer to reality through investments and innovation in the right network infrastructure.