New Quest 2 setting alleviates Air Link connection issues

Air Link Framerate Insurance (AFI) is a new experimental feature to simulate dropped frames, reducing vibration caused by WiFi connection issues.

Air Link is a Quest feature that allows the device to act as a wireless PC VR headset through your WiFi network. It shipped as a software update in early 2021, but third-party alternatives such as Virtual Desktop and ALVR have been available since the original Quest headset was released in mid-2019.

However, using your home Wi-Fi network rather than a dedicated transmitter isn’t exactly ideal. The signal may be degraded by obstacles such as solid walls or interference from nearby networks. And even worse, frames can be lost or delivered late if too many other devices are clogging the network.

Air Link and its alternatives use dynamic bitrate to accommodate the reduction in connection speed caused by signal degradation. But when a frame is received too late, or never, the previous frame must be repeated even if your head has since moved. The result is stunning. It looks bad and can even make you sick.

This is where AFI comes in, according to Meta. When a new frame is not received in time, AFI generates a new synthetic frame by analyzing the motion between previous frames to plausibly extrapolate that forward motion. Motion extrapolation isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than full-screen jerkiness.

Don’t confuse AFI with the recently released SpaceWarp app. AppSW is enabled by developers of native apps running on Quest. It synthetically generates all other frames, so the app only has to run at half the frame rate, freeing up performance.

AFI is meant to help with occasional network issues, but it’s not a silver bullet. Meta indicates that AFI will not compensate for WiFi connections so bad that multiple frames are dropped in a row, because the plausibility of the synthetic frame would worsen the longer it elapsed since an actual frame was received.

AFI is currently disabled by default. You have to manually enable it in the Oculus Debug Tool (ODT). This is located in the oculus-diagnostics subfolder within the Support folder of your Oculus software directory – C:Program FilesOculusSupportoculus-diagnostics by default. Meta warns that 120Hz refresh rate is not currently supported, so make sure your Air Link is set to 90Hz or lower.

Harry D. Gonzalez