Can the Valve Index Work With One Base Station?

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By Monica Bates

Are you considering purchasing the Valve Index but wondering if it can work with just one base station? The answer is yes, it can. However, there are some limitations to this setup that you should be aware of before making a decision.

What is a Base Station?

First, let’s define what a base station is and its role in the Valve Index setup. A base station is a device that emits infrared light signals and acts as a reference point for the headset and controllers to track their movements in 3D space.

The Valve Index comes with two base stations that need to be positioned diagonally opposite each other for optimal tracking. They have a range of up to 7 meters and require a direct line of sight between the headset/controllers and the base stations.

Can You Use One Base Station?

Now, back to the question at hand – can you use just one base station? Yes, you can. However, this setup will limit your tracking capabilities and may result in less precise tracking accuracy.

When using only one base station, you will experience occlusion issues where the headset/controllers lose sight of the single base station due to objects blocking its view. This can lead to tracking errors or complete loss of tracking in certain scenarios.

To mitigate these issues, Valve suggests placing the single base station above head height (ideally mounted on a tripod) and positioning yourself in front of it as much as possible during use. However, this still doesn’t guarantee seamless tracking performance.

  • If you are using only one base station:
    • The headset may experience rotational drift
    • The controllers may have reduced range
    • Some games/apps may not support this configuration

When Should You Use One Base Station?

So why would anyone opt for a single base station setup? There are a few scenarios where this could be beneficial:

  • If you have limited space and cannot position two base stations diagonally opposite each other
  • If you are traveling with your VR setup and want to minimize the equipment you need to carry
  • If you want to save money by purchasing only one base station initially and plan to upgrade later


In summary, the Valve Index can work with just one base station, but it comes with limitations that may affect your overall VR experience. If possible, it’s recommended to use both base stations for optimal tracking performance. However, if you find yourself in a situation where using only one is necessary, be prepared for some compromises in tracking accuracy.