Oculus Quest 2 owners will soon be able to say goodbye to their cumbersome Oculus Link cables to play VR games on their PC, as Oculus have announced that the standalone virtual reality headset is getting official wireless PC support via their new Oculus Air Link tech. The new feature will be introduced as part of their upcoming v28 software update, and will be available first as an experimental mode before its full release later this year.
Building on the work laid down by Oculus Link, which let you play PC VR games like Half-Life: Alyx on the Quest by connecting it over USB, Oculus Air Link will stream games to the headset using your home’s Wi-Fi network. This method of playing PC VR games was technically already an option for those who purchased the expensive Virtual Desktop app on the Quest 2, but now Quest 2 owners will be able to do so for free without the need for third party software.
You’ll still need a pretty robust Wi-Fi network in order to make use of Oculus Air Link, mind. To get the best experience, Oculus recommend you use a 5GHz network connection on an AC or AX router which is connected via ethernet to your PC, which may be tricky depending on your home setup. My home router, for example, sits down in our hallway, while my gaming PC is upstairs at the back of the house. If I wanted to a direct connection to my router, I’d probably have to employ the use of some powerline adapters or Home Plugs, which obviously adds quite a bit of extra cost to the whole endeavour.
Thankfully, Oculus also say in their announcement post that as long as you have a strong Wi-Fi network and your play space is “ideally” within 20 feet of your router, then Air Link should still be a good option for you.
Of course, the current version of Oculus Link isn’t going anywhere, so you’ll still be able to play PC VR games by connecting your Quest 2 over a USB cable if you prefer. Indeed, Oculus say that if you wish to charge your headset while playing, or experience the highest quality visuals, then using Oculus Link with a USB-C cable is “the way to go” (although I should point out that Link works with all types of USB cable now, not just USB-C to C cables).
To try out Oculus Air Link yourself, you’ll need to update your Oculus PC app to v28, which is rolling out “soon”, according to Oculus. You’ll then need to enable Air Link in the Beta menu of the Settings tab. Finally, you’ll need to switch it on on the Quest 2 itself, which you can do in the Experimental section of the Settings menu. If it doesn’t pan out as expected, just disable it on the headset and you can go back to using a Link via a USB cable.
Oculus also confirmed that the Quest 2’s previously hinted 120Hz refresh rate support will also be available as an experimental feature in the same v28 update.
“Developers can soon begin to ship apps on the Oculus Store that run at 120 Hz natively, while Quest 2 users will be able to opt into the 120 Hz option via a toggle in the Experimental panel to experience these applications at higher frame rates. While there aren’t any apps that support 120 Hz just yet, people who turn on this setting will experience 120 Hz performance in apps that choose to support it in the future. Meanwhile, Quest 2 system software will remain at 90 Hz. Oculus Link support for 120 Hz will come in a future release.”