The Oculus Quest is a fully autonomous helmet. It does not have wires for PC headsets only. However, if you want to use it on a PC to play Steam VR games, you will need special software to do it wirelessly.
Wireless replacement for Oculus Link
Oculus link is the official way to use the Quest as a Steam VR headset, and it requires a USB cable. It’s great, although it’s a little slower than a dedicated device, like a Rift S or a Valve Index. Still, it’s good enough to make the Quest feel like a PC headset when plugged in. However, you still need a cable with Link, so if you want to go completely wireless, you’ll need special software.
ALVR is a free application that can connect your Quest and your PC. You run the application on your PC, which installs a custom driver for Steam VR and runs a server to which the Quest connects. You launch the application on your Quest, which connects to the server and broadcasts the video. Input and motion from the controller is returned to the server, which appears as standard headphones in Steam VR. The result is a completely wireless experience: your PC can be in your bedroom while you play in your more spacious living room.
The experience itself is certainly a mixed bag. Playing full PC games via wireless VR VR is a fantastic experience instead of being tied up. When it works, it works well, and it’s definitely worth a try, if only for the novelty. However, this is quite buggy on occasion.
When that doesn’t work, you’re stuck with VR compression gels and artifacts, which is not pleasing to the eye. Latency is not a major problem for casual games. If you want to play something fast, like Beat Saber, you might want to stick with the wireframe or just start the game on the quest.
It doesn’t work at all on 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. You will need to use the faster 5 GHz and a wired connection from your PC to your router. If you can play closer to your router, that also helps.
ALVR is the most popular free option on the market. However, if you want to try something else, Virtual office is an official $ 20 app that does the same thing and streams from your real desktop. However, you will still need to install the downloaded version to use SteamVR, and the experience will be essentially the same.
Configuration of ALVR
To get started, you need to download ALVR. See you on his GitHub page and download the latest version. Download the ALVR.zip file, which is the server that will run on your PC. You will also need to download the ALVRClient, which is the application you need to load onto your Quest.
Activate developer mode on your quest. From the Oculus app on your iPhone or Android, search for your quest in the settings menu, then select More settings> Developer mode, then activate it.
This will take you to the Oculus website, where you need to register as a developer and create an “organization”. It’s completely free, but a bit annoying.
Once it’s on, restart your quest, plug it in with a cable, and you should see the screen below asking you to trust this computer. Select “Always allow”, then click “OK”.
The easiest method for side loading is to use Secondary Quest, a third party store for side applications. You are not limited to apps on SideQuest: you can install any app for which you have an APK file.
Open it and you should see your headphones connected in the upper left corner.
Drag the ALVRClient.apk file to SideQuest, which will install it immediately. You will not find ALVR on your home screen, however – it is hidden in the “Library” under “Unknown sources”.
Disconnect your headphones from the PC and load the ALVR application on the Quest. You will be greeted with a rather unpleasant and aliased welcome screen, telling you to connect to the device from the server.
Unzip the ALVR.zip file, then move the folder to a location where you will not accidentally delete it. Run ALVR.exe to start the server.
Once it loads, you can change some of the settings, but the defaults should work fine. Click “Connect” on your PC. Once connected, click on “Auto Connect Next Time” to allow your headphones to reconnect automatically if the connection times out.
From there you can load a Steam VR game. ALVR will present the device as a standard headset and, if the connection is solid, it should act as such.
Fixed some common bugs
If your image freezes or you see visual artifacts, make sure your headset is connected to 5 GHz Wi-Fi. If you can, also set the channel width to 40 MHz.
Some routers use the same SSID (network name) for the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, which can be problematic. Our Quest opted for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi by default, and the only way to solve it was to split the network names.
However, our Fios router did not allow it by default. We had to disable the very buried setting for “Self-organized network enabled” under Wireless Settings> Advanced Security Settings> Other Advanced Wireless Options. Then we were able to split the network.
After connecting the Quest to 5 GHz Wi-Fi and forgetting about the other network, we had a much smoother experience.
If this does not resolve the issue, you may need to restart ALVR or lower the bitrate or resolution in the video settings. Conversely, if you have a smooth experience with slightly blurred video, you can increase the bit rate.
The other problem we had was with the office audio. We used Virtual audio cable and sound level meter for advanced audio routing and had a problem with the sound not working at first. We had to manually switch the output device to the correct one. Then we restarted everything: ALVR, Steam VR and the game.
After solving these problems, the occasional hitching, stuttering or general shift is not really avoidable without dedicated equipment, like the Vive wireless adapter. There are certainly compromises to be made with this configuration.