AT&T tests the bounderies of 5G and edge computing in VR

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US telecoms giant AT&T has developed several new 5G and edge computing solutions for virtual reality (VR) and games in partnership with HTC, Nvidia, Arvizio and others.

Following an expansion of the AT&T Foundry Edge Computing Zone programme to establish a 5G radio and testing environment hosted at the Ericsson campus in Santa Clara, California, the telecoms company is keen to test the potential of 5G and edge computing, which moves cloud servers closer to users and so cuts latency.

The programme participants were engaged because AT&T identified a need to work collaboratively to design and re-architect applications for this edge computing.

The highlight of this work so far has been HTC and AT&T’s delivery of six degrees of freedom (6DoF) interactive content over mobile 5G.

The companies delivered commercially available VR games to the Vive Focus VR headset, achieving 2880 x 1600 resolution frames at 75 frames per second via Ericsson’s mmWave 5G.

“The use of 5G and edge computing allows us to bring this experience to our mobile network while still achieving the latency and bandwidth necessary to meet the performance requirements of the wireless HMD and VR application,” AT&T said in a blog post.

AT&T’s work with Nvidia and its CloudVR software enabled an interactive VR game to be streamed over the 5G radio from an RTX server. “The result was a great end-user experience, with only 5 milliseconds of network delay and no observable performance loss.”

Arvizio showcased the delivery of immersive, mixed-reality applications over a 5G network, using mobile edge computing and powered by a Nvidia RTX server.

AT&T’s proof of concept demonstrated how the combination of 5G and edge can optimise complex 3D models for visualisation with XR devices and ultimately deliver smooth, multi-user experiences.

Plans are in place to continue exploring the potential of 5G to deliver VR experiences. AT&T said: “These projects are only the beginning of our exploration of the edge and 5G. Over the next few months, we’ll continue working with these companies to quantitatively assess how next-generation network capabilities directly impact application performance and the end user experience.”

Watch AT&T’s concept video for the work being undertaken in 5G and edge computing:

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