Best Link Cable Alternatives for Oculus Quest 2 Android Central 2021
These days, Oculus Quest 2 owners who want to play PC VR games on their headsets have many options. You can use Virtual Desktop to play PC VR games at 120Hz, or stick with the free Oculus Air Link for a more basic wireless streaming experience. But if you don't have a fast Wi-Fi network or a PC that can't keep up with the network speed needed for wireless PC VR, an Oculus Link cable is the next best thing. But you can't just hook any cable up. You need one that's both long enough to allow you to move freely, and one that's fast enough to handle all the streaming data that PC VR requires. Here are our personal favorites, the Oculus community's top picks, and Oculus's official Link alternatives.
- Skip the cable altogether: Virtual Desktop
- Oculus tested and approved: Anker USB C Cable, Powerline USB 3.0 to USB C Charger Cable (10ft)
- 16 feet of fun: PartyLink 16ft (5m) USB 3.0 Type-C to Type-A Cable
- Built for roomscale PC VR: Amavasion Oculus Quest Link Cable
- Anker backup: Amazon Basics USB Type-C to Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 Charger Cable
- Add 16 feet to any Link cable: CableCreation Active USB 3.0 Extension Cable
- Make your cable Quest-friendly: AFUNTA 90 Degree USB C Type C Male to Female Adapter
Skip the cable altogether: Virtual DesktopStaff Pick
If you're willing to go the unofficial route for PC VR, the best Quest 2 link cable alternatives aren't cables at all. Virtual Desktop is an official Quest store app that allows you to stream games from your PC to your headset wirelessly. Virtual Desktop can hit 120Hz if your PC has the processing power and your router can keep up with the data transfer. Oculus recently approved its wireless tech, so you no longer need to sideload Virtual Desktop as was once the requirement. Virtual Desktop works with both Rift and SteamVR games, although there are a few limitations on apps like Minecraft, which use the Windows UWP platform instead of traditional EXE files.
Oculus tested and approved: Anker USB C Cable, Powerline USB 3.0 to USB C Charger Cable (10ft)
On the official Oculus Link support page, the company states it tested this USB-C to USB-A Anker cable "internally with good results." It hits the USB 3.0 5Gbps standard for fast data transfer and supports 15W fast charging, so your Quest 2 remains fully powered under the heavy workload. It's reliable and popular with Quest 2 users, but you may want a longer cable with a 90-degree USB-C cable head if you plan on playing more motion-heavy PC VR games.
Anker backup: Amazon Basics USB Type-C to Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 Charger Cable
Oculus's official Oculus Link backup, the 10-foot Anker cable, frequently goes out of stock, and this cable is the closest alternative in price, features, and quality that you can rely on. It supports 5 Gbps data transfer and 5V charging. Made of double braided nylon, it should be durable when jerked around and even comes in four colors for a little extra personality.
Add 16 feet to any Link cable: CableCreation Active USB 3.0 Extension Cable
USB 3.0 cables are typically maxed out at 3 meters (or around 9 feet) to preserve their fast speeds, but this won't be enough for games where you want to stand up and move far away from your PC. This 16-foot extender will preserve the power transfer and 5Gbps data speeds. You'll need to buy one of the USB 3.0 to USB-C cables (such as Anker's or Amazon's) in addition to this, but that plus the CableCreation extender will cost less and stretch 10 feet longer than the official cable.
Make your cable Quest-friendly: AFUNTA 90 Degree USB C Type C Male to Female Adapter
Some of the best USB-C cables have straight heads that aren't made for a headset jerking around left and right. With an adapter attached, your Link cable will sit perpendicular to the headset, which should make it less likely to get bent when you move around. These tiny adapters are USB 3.1-compatible with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps, so they will have no trouble passing through your data and power.
What specs do you need in an Oculus Link cable?
Finding the best Oculus Link cable alternatives wasn't easy because there is an uncomfortable number of imitation cables that range from defective to actually dangerous for your Oculus Quest 2. We've read horror stories about USB-C heads snapping off inside the Quest 2 port, rendering it unable to charge. More commonly and less drastically, you'll find cables that work for a couple of weeks before they wear down and can no longer properly connect your headset to your PC.
That's why we tried to consider the best options for those who can't afford the official Oculus 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 should mean that it simultaneously supports 5 Gbps data transfer and 5V charging. The data transfer speed is necessary to stream the game running on your PC to your headset without lag. The power transfer is necessary because your headset will use more power running PC VR games, and reliable voltage will keep your battery running for longer.
- Most fast-charging USB cables with high wattage will have some semblance of data transfer, but you'll often see the number 480Mbps. 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 3- or 6-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.
What is the best Oculus Link cable length?
Oculus's official cable is 16 feet, or 5 meters, which should give you plenty of leeway for physically moving around a room. Keep in mind, though, that the reason Oculus's cable is so expensive is in part because it manages to maintain a fast data transfer speed across 5 meters as a USB-C to USB-C cable when most USB 3.0 cables are maxed out at 10 feet. Standalone cables longer than that may not satisfactorily transfer data from a powerful PC without some data loss.
This is why we included extension cables on our list, although you might not want to build a massively long Oculus Link combo cable even if the data transfer works perfectly. The longer your cable, 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. When that happens, either you'd better hope the cable comes out of one of the ports, or either your head or the PC is getting yanked downwards. That's also why you should always velcro strap the cable to the head strap, as it'll help save your USB port from disaster.
Decide whether you plan on doing room-scale VR or not. If not, you may 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 PartyLink Cable or pair a short cable with the CableCreation Active USB 3.0 Extension Cable for a particularly long contraption.
How to use your Oculus Link cable
We hope that our Oculus Link cable alternatives will live up to 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) turns out not to live up to the task. Here's what you need to do to use Oculus Link on the Oculus Quest 2.
- On your PC, go to www.oculus.com/setup and click "Download software" under "Oculus Link".
- Open the app and click "Install Now."
- Turn on your Oculus Quest 2.
- Plug your USB cable head into a compatible PC port, then plug the USB-C end into the Quest 2's charging port.
- Put on your headset.
- You should see a pop-up: "Allow access to data. The connected device will be able to access files on this headset." Select Deny.
- You'll then see an option to Enable Oculus Link. Select Enable.
You should now be able to use Oculus Link. If you were unable to connect or your PC games struggle with performance issues, you may have a problem with your cable or your PC.
If you're suffering from random disconnections, make sure you 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, our Oculus Link cable troubleshooting guide can help you out.
Consider going wireless instead
While wired Oculus Link might be the easiest solution since it's just a simple cable connection, going wireless is probably one of the biggest reasons you picked up an Oculus Quest 2 in the first place, right? As of the April v28 Quest update, Facebook debuted Oculus Air Link; a way of wirelessly streaming your PC games to your Oculus Quest 2 by way of your home's Wi-Fi network. Oculus Air Link is completely free and part of the official Oculus software. Both Quest and PC Oculus software need to be on at least version 28 to use it.
Setting up Oculus Air Link is a simple process, but it's also a simple product that doesn't offer much in the way of options or customization. Virtual Desktop — the defacto wireless PC VR standard solution before Air Link came along — offers more customization, more options, and, at this time of writing, the ability to run PC VR games at 120Hz. Oculus Air Link is still only running at 90Hz, although it's expected that Oculus will eventually add the 120Hz option in the future.
Before you go this route, keep in mind that wired internet is generally more consistent because it connects directly to your router. To go the wireless route, you'll need a router that lives up to the task. The best best Wi-Fi 6 routers should deliver the performance you need, though they can be a bit expensive for someone trying to save money.
Of course, it doesn't matter if you choose a cable or a wireless app if your PC doesn't have the graphical chops to handle VR. If you're having trouble in that area, feel free to check out our list of the best prebuilt PCs for Oculus Link, which will tell you what kind of specs you may need and how much it'll cost.
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