Steve Alexander is the Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Ciena, a networking systems and software firm that works with operators and content providers all around the world.
Meta’s declared purpose is to integrate different contexts such as work, social media, and gaming so that individuals may successfully live and work in the virtual universe.
This will undoubtedly have a severe and long-term effect on our networks. We’re not just talking about the requirement to be continually connected and free of defects; we’re talking about completely immersive multimedia streaming in 4K and 8K with low latency and minimum lag.
We must be able to transition from one experience to the next without being disturbed by reboots, operating system or application loading periods, network congestion, or anything else that indicates we are not in a seamless virtual environment.
Having accomplished all of this, virtual living seems to be as difficult as going to Mars.
However, it is feasible to make the voyage to our new virtual world as painless as possible. We only need to ensure that the fundamental building elements for virtual life are in place.
Beginning today, we have the potential to make the metaverse livable and welcoming, a place where our virtual selves may flourish rather than merely endure.
Bandwidth is essential
To make this work at scale, we’ll need a lot of bandwidth. We couldn’t operate in a metaverse without bandwidth, just as water is a building component of life. We want high-performance connection that can meet the various demands of bandwidth-hungry apps in the metaverse.
To effectively assist our underserved and under-connected populations, that bandwidth must be widely available and inexpensive. Virtual world visions often revolve on equal chances for everyone to develop and explore. To assure a fair playing field of connection in the actual world, we must first secure a level playing field of connectivity inside the metaverse.
Low latency is as important as air
Bandwidth is such thing, but if the avatar we’re interacting with takes many seconds – or worse – to reply, meta life becomes irritating and unfriendly. We already find latency irritating while watching live sports or games online, and it will only become worse when we attempt to completely immerse ourselves in a virtual environment.
Edge computing, which may decrease network latency and increase dependability, will become more crucial in networks that demand real-time response.
The metaverse’s infrastructure is virtual hardware
We’ve all been there: hardware fails and we must repair it. We needed to be able to exist without whatever function that piece of gear performed at the time. But this can’t happen in a metaverse – or, at the very least, it shouldn’t, since we should have used virtualized functions for most of what the metaverse demands.
It will be critical to deploy infrastructure operations utilising virtual machine and container ideas, where they, like applications, can be distributed over the network at scale and in real time. Routing and switching, for example, will need to be completely virtualized. They must be simple to update, upgrade, patch, and deploy.
The mayor of the metaverse is software intelligence
To be able to operate rapidly and smoothly, the metaverse must be software-defined. It’s the same as a local government or council being able to repair our roads, remove rubbish, and manage traffic flows in real time. This occurs in real life all the time without our knowledge, until it stops operating and we wonder what happened.
Automation and AI, enabled by customizable software capabilities, hold the key to accelerating network rollouts while also making them more accessible and flexible.
Without the need for a physical truck-roll, an adaptive virtual programmable network will be able to recognise a flaw and self-heal. It may drain resources – computing, storage, and bandwidth – from unproductive places to boost activity in other parts of the metaverse, and then reverse automatically when necessary.
We will hear a lot about the metaverse over the next several years, but any innovation in use cases will be impossible without the necessary network breakthroughs. An adaptable network that enables software-controlled, high-capacity, low-latency connection will be even more critical for the future metaverse than it is for today’s cloud applications.
The basic elements for the entity known as Facebook to create a hospitable metaverse are already in place, and as those technologies evolve – driven by an expected increase in innovation among tech developers looking to capitalise on the metaverse’s emergence – Meta will have more world-building tools to work with.
Simply told, building a virtual world is not straightforward, but it is something that we can bring closer to reality with adequate network infrastructure expenditures and innovation.