Extended reality: VR, AR, and MR

by | Jul 14, 2021

Extended reality includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.
Enjoyed this? Spread the word to your friends.

We’ve long anticipated that virtual reality (VR) will change the world. VR promises to create immersive experiences with multiple applications in everything from gaming to medicine to business training. But extended reality (XR) reaches beyond VR. And we can now add augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) to our virtual universe.

What is extended reality?

Extended reality is a blanket term for AR, MR, VR and other potential virtual realities we may experience in the future. These enhanced realities are changing how we enjoy music, movies, sports, and other forms of entertainment. VR, AR, and MR also provide exciting opportunities for companies to market and manufacture their goods and services and train their employees. Whether it’s a medical student practicing on a virtual patient or a pilot simulating an emergency landing, the far-reaching benefits of XR are just beginning.

Augmented reality, or AR, is part of extended reality.

AR vs. VR vs. MR: how they differ

Augmented reality (AR)

The main difference between virtual vs. augmented reality is that instead of VR’s fully immersive experience, AR works to enhance life as you see it. You may have already experienced augmented reality. You know those lines football commentators draw on your TV screen to analyze plays? That’s AR. And if you’ve ever virtually tried out pieces of furniture in your home from a phone or tablet to see if they’ll match your design scheme, that’s AR too.

Augmented reality combines digital information with the real world, often in real-time, to enhance your experience. Users typically wear AR-enabled goggles or headsets, but many smartphones can now handle AR applications.

AR is an excellent tool for when you shop because it lets you “try it” before you buy it. Other practical uses for AR include visualization for designers and architects and immersive education and training to help employees simulate real-life scenarios.

Virtual reality (VR)

Of all extended reality technology, VR is the most widely known. Virtual reality immerses you in a computer-generated world, using realistic visuals and other sensory input to make you feel like you’re in the simulated environment. VR typically relies on wearable devices to create a life-like experience. When wearing the device, your body’s motions control the virtual movements.

Virtual reality is typically associated with gaming. While VR is a terrific medium for enhancing the gaming experience, it serves many other purposes. Athletic teams now incorporate VR into training and practices. Auto manufacturers use VR to design prototypes and create virtual showrooms for their customers. Medical professionals are even using virtual reality to treat mental health and depression.

Mixed reality (MR)

MR combines the best of VR and AR into an experience that lets you interact with both the digital simulation and the physical world. MR combines input from the user, a computer, and the environment to create this unique experience.

Like VR, MR requires a headset. There are currently two types of wearables on the market that can be used for your MR experience: holographic and immersive devices. Holographic devices enhance your local environment, building off your surroundings and allowing you to interact with the digital enhancements more than you can with AR. MR is a game-changing immersive experience.

VR and other extended reality often relies heavily on wearables, like headsets.

The future of extended reality

Because extended reality (XR) offers significant AR/VR/MR applications for businesses and consumers, its popularity is expected to rise. However, since many XR applications use IoT devices and WiFi for certain processes, they’ll likely need a powerful fiber internet connection to run efficiently. Quantum Fiber is virtually all you need.

Interested in learning more about the world of virtual reality? Check out these articles:

Virtual reality for mental health

Is virtual reality the future of social media?

Content Disclaimer
This content is provided for informational purposes only and may require additional research and substantiation by the end user. In addition, the information is provided “as is” without any warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this information is at the end user’s own risk. Quantum Fiber does not warrant that the information will meet the end user’s requirements or that the implementation or usage of this information will result in the desired outcome of the end user. All third party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. This document represents Quantum Fiber’s products and offerings as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location, in limited circumstances Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. Services not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber may change or cancel products and services or substitute similar products and services at its sole discretion without notice. ©2023 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.

Enjoyed this? Spread the word to your friends.
Quantum Fiber
Fiber Internet
Business Fiber
360 WiFi

Streaming TV

Streaming Services
Connected Voice


Harness the power of Multi-Gig internet. See if speeds up to 8 Gig are available in your area.

Limited availability. Service and speed in select locations only.

Blog Categories
All Things Fiber

Connectivity & Security


Gaming & Streaming

Routers & WiFi
Small Business

Harness the power of Multi-Gig internet. See if speeds up to 8 Gig are available in your area.

Limited availability. Service and speed in select locations only.