Best Link Cable alternatives for Oculus Quest 2 in 2023

Quest 2 who want to play PC VR games on their headsets have plenty of options. Virtual Desktop lets you play PC VR games on Quest using a link cable, while Oculus Air Link is built into the headset and supports smooth 120Hz refresh rates. Unfortunately, both options require high network speeds and the right PC to keep up with the WiFi capabilities needed for wireless PC VR. If your internet isn't very fast, we recommend you try a Link Cable.

You can't just hook any old USB cable up, though. It needs to be both long enough to let you move freely and to support sufficiently high data transfer speeds to handle all the streaming data that PC VR requires. We've gathered our favorite options, some favorites among the PC VR community, and Oculus's recommended and tested Link alternatives for the Oculus Quest 2 (opens in new tab).

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Finding a dependable, solid Quest Link Cable alternative can be difficult. Many imitation Link Cables out there are simply faulty and may run the risk of harming your Quest 2. We've plenty of cautionary tales about USB-C heads snapping off inside the Quest 2 port, making it impossible to connect your headset to a PC, let alone charge it. Believe us, you don't want that. More commonly and less drastically, you're likely to find cables that only work for a few weeks before they stop connecting your headset to your PC.

We scoured the online stores, forums, and our own supply of hardware to find the best options for those who can't afford Meta's pricey Link Cable, but if you want to look for your own alternatives, or see if the USB-C cable you own now could work, here's what you need to know:

  • You want a cable rated USB 3.0 or higher. This means that it simultaneously supports 5 Gbps data transfer and 5V charging. You need this data transfer speed to stream the game from your PC to your headset without lag. The power transfer is necessary to keep your headset charged while running more power-intensive PC VR games.
  • Most fast-charging USB cables with high wattage will have some semblance of data transfer, but you'll often see the number 480Mbps. Unfortunately, this isn't enough for Oculus Link.
  • The other end of the cable must be USB-C to connect to the headset's charging port. We recommend one that sits at a 90-degree angle, which should make it less likely that head motions will put physical pressure on the cord and damage your headset port.
  • You want a cable that is at least 10 feet long. Even if you only plan to play PC VR games seated, anything shorter than that could cause you to yank something and damage your PC port — or hurt your neck.
  • If you have a three or six-foot USB 3.0 to USB-C cable you like, you could use it along with an extension cable, which would solve the problem. Extension cables can cause a slight slowdown in the transfer, but there shouldn't be an issue if it's rated high enough.

Meta Quest 2 with Link cable attached

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Oculus' official cable is 16 feet (or five meters), allowing for plenty of space to move around in room-scale VR. Oculus' cable is expensive partially because it manages to maintain the required high data transfer speed across five meters as a USB-C to USB-C cable. By comparison, most other USB 3.0 cables can't keep up beyond 10 feet. With that in mind, standalone cables longer than 10 feet probably won't be able to transfer enough data from a powerful PC without losing some data.

This is why we included extension cables on our list. Even if you don't want to build a massively long Oculus Link cable daisy chain, the data transfer should work well enough to play anything you want. Don't get too carried away, though; the longer the cable gets, the more it will extend across a room and dip downwards in the middle. This will create a tripping hazard for both you and anyone else who lives with you or even get caught on furniture and risk seriously harming your headset, cables or neck. When that happens, you'd better hope the cable comes out of one of the ports because if they don't, your head or your PC is getting yanked downwards. That's also why you should always velcro strap the cable to the head strap, which can help prevent your USB-C port from being damaged.

Before buying anything, make sure you know whether you plan on doing room-scale VR or not. If not, you'll probably be able to make do with a 10-foot cable like the Anker Powerline Cable. Otherwise, you can try your luck with a 16-foot cable like the VOKOO cable or pair a short cable with the CableCreation Active USB 3.0 Extension Cable for an exceptionally long daisy chain of link cables.

Meta Quest 2 with an Oculus Link cable attached to a PC

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

We hope that our Oculus Link Cable alternatives can meet your needs, but be sure to test the cable as soon as it arrives, so you can return it if the cable (or your PC graphics card) doesn't meet the necessary standards. Here's how to use Oculus Link on the Oculus Quest 2:

  1. On your PC, go to www.oculus.com/setup (opens in new tab) and click "Download software" under "Oculus Link".
  2. Open the app and click "Install Now."
  3. Turn on your Oculus Quest 2.
  4. Plug your USB cable head into a compatible PC port, then plug the USB-C end into the Quest 2's charging port.
  5. Put on your headset.
  6. You should see a pop-up to access to data. Select Deny. Selecting Allow will cause the cable to disconnect from time to time because Windows is trying to find files, which will interrupt Oculus Link.
  7. You'll then see an option to Enable Oculus Link. Select Enable.

Oculus Link should be all set up and ready to use. If you were unable to connect or your PC games struggled with performance issues, you probably need to update your PC or replace your cable.

If you're encountering random disconnections, make sure to select Deny when the "Allow access to data" pop-up appears after connecting the cable. Selecting "Allow" will cause connection inconsistencies. If you're having other issues, this Oculus Link Cable troubleshooting guide (opens in new tab) can help you out.

Consider going wireless instead

Mockup of the D-Link VR Air Bridge for Quest 2

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

A hard-wired connection through an Oculus Link Cable will almost always deliver the most reliable visual and technical performance. Ditching a physical cable might cause a slight dip in visual quality, but it's so much less restrictive. 

It eliminates the potential to yank a cable and damage your headset or PC's ports; Air Link is one of the main reasons the Quest 2 is the most popular headset being used for PC VR! Plus, Air Link is completely free and doesn't suffer from wear and tear like a physical cable would, so there's no cost to testing it out before shelling out the cash for a new chord since you might end up not needing one.

Air Link lets you wirelessly stream your PC games to your Oculus Quest 2 through your home's Wi-Fi network. It was first introduced in the v28 Quest 2 update (opens in new tab) in April 2021 and got upgraded in v29 (opens in new tab) to support a silky-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

Setting up Oculus Air Link (opens in new tab) is pretty painless, but for your games to perform well, you'll still need the right hardware for the job: a PC with enough processing and graphical power to handle hardcore PC VR games is a must. If you're having trouble in that area, feel free to check out our list of the best-prebuilt PCs for Oculus Link (opens in new tab), which can help you find the right machine and specs to play PC VR.

To go the wireless route through Air Link or Virtual Desktop, you'll also need a router that hits the necessary network speeds and signal strength. A powerful Wi-Fi 6 routers (opens in new tab) should deliver the performance you need.

With the right PC build and a fast router and internet connection, playing Quest 2 games wirelessly is a breeze. You can do so through Air Link for free, or you can try out the Virtual Desktop app to get the full PC-in-VR experience! Either way, these tools will make your Quest 2 truly wireless again, even when playing demanding VR games like Half-Life: Alyx.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.