Writer, Dungeon Master, creator. Likes to talk about game design. Follow him on Twitter @_RKDnc
May 23rd, 2022

The Quest 2 offers a stellar all-in-one VR experience out of the box, which is one of the many reasons that it has sold so well since its release. A standalone VR headset at an affordable price is amazing, but that isn’t all that the Quest has to offer.

Those looking to get into PCVR without an expensive setup have a powerful, wireless device right at their fingertips, with the addition of Air Link, baked right into your headset.

How To Get Airlink

If you don’t know how to get Air Link installed, here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  1. Install the Meta desktop software.
  2. Once you’ve got it installed and set up, connect your headset (either via any USB-C cable or via wifi).
  3. Now that your headset is connected, you need to turn on Air Link on your Headset settings. You can find it under Settings → Experimentalhow to enable air link
  4. After that, all you need to do is hit the Home button and click Air Link! It should show your computer (if you’re on the same network), and it’ll have you make one more little connection, and you’re in!
  5. air link pairing

Ideally, Meta recommends that your router run on a 5GHz band and that you’re in the same room as your router. Also, mesh networks tend not to work well with Air Link, so be aware.

Minimum PC Specs

While Air Link is a great tool, it still requires a good gaming PC to be able to render VR games. The Quest 2 by itself is good, but with Air Link, all of the computing power is done on your desktop.

If you need an upgrade, check out our list of the Best Computer for a Quest 2.

Adjusting The Quest 2’s Refresh Rate and Resolution

The Quest 2 is a great headset, but the graphics are pretty limited for Quest native apps. Thankfully you can massively increase the picture quality of your device in Air Link.

You can increase the refresh rate of your headset in that same Experimental settings menu to a max of 120Hz. This will make an impact on your battery life, so keep an eye on it while gaming.

To get the best graphics settings for Air Link, it’s a good idea to put the refresh rate to 72 Hz as it’s one of the most demanding components. Once you’ve done that, you can maximize your other settings such as render resolution:

Render Resolution Sweet Spots

The most significant impact you can make is by increasing the render resolution of your headset. This is a setting in SteamVR that you’ll need to play around with.

  • 150% is the cream of the crop if your PC can handle it. Anything above this will be diminishing returns, so don’t bother.
  • 130% resolution is the sweet spot for most gamers with average rigs, and it’s the safest option.
  • 100% looks okay, but it isn’t ideal.

Anything under 100% is awful, and we recommend a system upgrade if you can’t reach a stable 100%.

Increase Your Encode Bitrate

Within Air Link, you can adjust the bitrate of your connection. This also improves picture quality while gaming but at a steeper bandwidth cost.

This is set to Dynamic by default, but we’ll be changing it to around 100 Mbps. Depending on your GPU, your maximum bitrate is somewhere between 100-200, but anything beyond 100 tends to have diminishing returns.

The best way to see the optimal bitrate for you is via throttling it. Start at around 150 Mbps while playing, and if the game begins to stutter, drop it by 10 until it’s a stable experience.

Using the Oculus Debug Tool

Not to be confused with the Oculus Tray Tool, which is for switching profiles for different games.

The Oculus Debug Tool is a convenient and dangerously powerful tool within the Oculus desktop app. This allows you to have even more customization options for your headset, but it can be overwhelming.

You can find this tool under “C:Program FilesOculusSupportoculus-diagnostics” if you installed the Oculus app in the default location. There are a lot of settings here, but we’re only going to cover the most impactful.

  • Distortion Curvature will affect the pixel density at the center of the screen while decreasing it from the edges. This will come to personal preference in most cases, so play around and find what works for you.
  • Encode Resolution Width allows you to adjust the pixels displayed in the image you see. By default, it is set to 0, which makes it dynamic between Air Link and Oculus Link. This requires you to play around with it, so start at 2800 and go up from there to a max of 4064.
  • Link Sharpening helps sharpen images, sort of like Anti-aliasing. It is set to auto by default, but you can turn it on, and you won’t see any performance loss.

Just Use Virtual Desktop

In case your Air Link performance isn’t good enough, the final option we suggest is to use Virtual Desktop.

In my case, and many others, Air Link had noticeably poor performance regardless of any settings tweaks. Virtual Desktop is a paid alternative to Air Link that performs way better in most scenarios and offers more features than the default app.

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