VR Therapy Internet/Wi-Fi Buyer's Guide
Most (but not all) VR therapy products require Internet access for both the VR headset and the VR therapist workstation. There are a few products that do not require any Internet access; however, these products cannot be used for teletherapy.
For most VR therapy systems (that require Internet access), the client's VR headset and the therapist's workstation coordinate with each other by communicating via a webserver provided by the VR product vendor. The VR therapist workstation can connect to the Internet via either a wired connection (Ethernet) or wireless (Wi-Fi). Most VR headsets connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
Internet access issues may include:
Facilities that do not have provide Wi-Fi in therapy offices.
Office Wi-Fi networks that are unreliable or have restrictive security requirements. For example, 'guest access' that requires users to sign in frequently or only allows access to certain 'approved' websites.
Therapist workstations that either are not allowed to access the Internet, do not support a compatible Internet web browser, or are restricted to only accessing certain Internet websites.
Possible workarounds for these issues include:
Considering only VR therapy products that do not require Internet access, if teletherapy support is not required.
Convincing your facility's network security department to allow the necessary Internet access.
Installing a Wi-Fi network with Internet access specifically for VR therapy devices.
For therapist workstation issues, using a separate computer or tablet with can have Internet access as the VR therapist workstation. For example, the therapist's existing device for electronic health record access (no Internet) and a separate computer as VR therapist workstation.
Internet speed options vary based on location and type of connection (DSL, cable, fiber optic networking, 5G wireless, etc.). Some connection types (like DSL) provide faster speeds for downloads (receiving information) than uploads (sending information). VR therapy products require a stable Internet connection with download speeds of 5 Mbps or more for a single user. Faster speeds are required if there are multiple users sharing the same Internet connection. Upload speeds are generally not a concern for VR but can be an issue for video conferencing or teletherapy. If an Internet connection is good enough for teletherapy or video streaming without interruptions, it should be adequate for VR.
If Internet or Wi-Fi are being installed specifically for VR, locate the Wi-Fi router close to where people will be using VR, if possible. If the area where you plan to use VR does not have good Wi-Fi speed or reliability, but connection speeds are better closer to the Wi-Fi router, you might get better results by upgrading to a newer router, adding a Wi-Fi range extender, or changing to mesh Wi-Fi routers. Consult a networking expert or arrange to try equipment with the option of returning it if network performance does not improve.