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Metaverse and connectivity: What is needed to deploy the new virtual world?

It may seem new, but the concept of the Metaverse dates back to 1992, when science fiction writer Neal Stephenson defined it in his novel Snow Crash as a collective, virtual and fictional world. Today, it is easier to refer to it as “immersive and three-dimensional” internet.

However, the Metaverse gained relevance when in November 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced the name change of his company to Meta Platforms Inc. or simply Meta, ushering in a new level of virtual experience in which users will be able to come in to meet, work and play with virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, apps on smartphones and other devices.

Following the announcement, interest in building digital worlds skyrocketed among companies and users, so much so that according to a Bloomberg Intelligence survey, the Metaverse technology platform could become an $800 billion market by 2024 . 

Now, to be deployed, the Metaverse will need a robust technological infrastructure, capable of providing all the computing capacity, storage and bandwidth necessary to provide a truly immersive experience. In fact, Qualcomm pointed out in 2018 that, to develop a virtual reality environment such as the Metaverse, it would require a minimum browsing speed of 200 Mbps . 

Considering this, the technology that today satisfies these demanding requirements is fiber optics, since it offers very high speeds, reaching a capacity of hundreds of Terabits in recent tests 
Fiber optics will become the essential connection to develop virtual and immersive experiences that will characterize the Metaverse, since it ensures various parameters that are essential to develop a real-time experience, such as greater signal stability and real-time audio and video transmission.

Without a doubt, connectivity will be crucial in enabling the Metaverse. However, the maturity of this new immersive environment will not be reached in the next 10 or 15 years, and it will also require the work, joint or not, of various companies, some of which are already advancing in the construction of their own metaverses, such as Microsoft, Nvidia and Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite.

This projection of at least a decade means that the Metaverse will take advantage of technologies such as 5G when it is mature and widespread in the market. It will even find its greatest expression when the concrete path towards 6G begins, where the first commercial implementations of this sixth generation technology are expected to start as of 2028 . 

Considering the future of the Internet, connected devices and sensors (IoT) and the advancement of new disruptive technologies, it is plausible to imagine a Metaverse that brings it all together in a seamless mix of all these solutions. To achieve this, the computational capacity of data centers and a robust, scalable and resistant technological infrastructure will be essential.

The more complex the platforms, the more bandwidth is required. The new virtual environments for interaction in real time will require more demanding features, and in this scenario, the use of fiber optic connections will be more necessary to maintain a high standard in the user experience.

1 - https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/blog/metaverse-may-be-800-billion-market-next-tech-platform/
2 - https://www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/vr-and-ar-pushing-connectivity-limits.pdf
3 - https://cdn.codeground.org/nsr/downloads/researchareas/6G%20Vision.pdf

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