It took just six simultaneous soccer games streaming on Amazon Prime to push internet traffic to record levels. The metaverse is far more demanding.
Every tech company is singing hymns of the metaverse, but an unprecedented network traffic spike caused by six concurrent Premier League football games streaming on Amazon exposed the barebones status of the existing internet infrastructure that is far from being capable of handling metaverse demands. To give a rough idea of what metaverse evangelists are promising, it will be an immersive virtual world where people have a digital avatar walking around, shopping from storefronts, and attending concerts, among other activities.
Now, imagine a virtual concert attended by just a few thousand people. The virtual reality headset will have to perform real-time motion tracking and transmit all that data to the concert’s servers to provide a realistic view of people grooving to the music. At the same time, those movements need to be replicated for the digital avatar in real-time. So far, even Meta’s own Horizon Workrooms demos have had attendees with legless torsos talking in a VR headset. In its prophesized form, the metaverse of Mark Zuckerberg’s dreams appears far beyond what the modern internet service providers can handle.
Per a report from Financial Times, Amazon Prime live-streamed six Premier League football (the one played only with the feet) games simultaneously, resulting in an internet traffic spike that reached 25.5 terabits per second. Those numbers are well above what the U.K.’s telecom company BT claimed to be capable of handling. Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, also expressed the need for an internet infrastructure boost as the demand surges in the coming years. Given the current status quo, he predicted that problems lay ahead. “Capacity for content is not infinite, and the exponential growth of data will, in the future, pass what we can reasonably be expected to build – or indeed expect consumers to have to pay for,” Allera wrote in an official blog post following the record traffic surge.
Internet Network Innovation Is The Path To Metaverse
The metaverse demands an always-connected approach and requires a low latency internet channel with a minimal lag to offer a half-decent experience, not a glitch-ridden mess of digital avatars with a gazillion audio-visual syncing issues. More importantly, the bandwidth-hungry metaverse applications not only require fast connectivity lanes, but they also need to be affordable. Augmented reality pioneer Louis Rosenberg has already warned that metaverse poses a genuine risk of alienating people who can’t afford the very medium to enter the metaverse. And that means a level playing field has to be created with net neutrality principles in the right places.
Intel’s SVP Raja Koduri recently claimed that the existing computation internet infrastructure needs a one-thousand-fold boost to sustain the metaverse. But it’s not going to be all about hardware, which is prone to fail due to myriad issues. The infrastructure also needs a healthy share of upgradable virtualized components that can be deployed at scale and in real-time. On top of it, experts have also floated the need for AI-powered automation tools and software to ensure that the network rollout can be speedier, bugs can be automatically identified and fixed, and the role of bulky hardware can be minimized. In a nutshell, metaverse stakeholders need to focus as much on innovating the internet network infrastructure as they are engrossed in making experiences for users — but the former doesn’t appear to be there yet.
Dune 2 Development Update From Director Denis Villeneuve
About The Author
Nadeem Sarwar (541 Articles Published)
Nadeem has been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Pocketnow in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, he also has experience testing out the latest phones and laptops. When he’s not writing, you can find him failing at Doom eternal.