Mobile Broadband Offers Connectivity without Boundaries
With dramatic improvements in speed and coverage areas, mobile broadband provides flexibility and productivity for notebook users.
Mobile broadband* is designed to give you connectivity almost anywhere you go. Instead of needing to find a Wi-Fi hotspot*, you can have high-speed connectivity built in to your notebook computer, always ready and available when you need it.
In the past two years, mobile broadband (also known as cellular data service) has achieved dramatic improvements in both speed and coverage area, making it an ideal choice for the business person who wants to connect from virtually anywhere without hassle.
What is Mobile Broadband?
Mobile broadband is different from Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi provides localized wireless coverage in some cafes, airports, and hotels via hotspots. In contrast, mobile broadband is offered through digital cellular networks--making it possible to connect to the Internet or check e-mail virtually anywhere you can get a cell phone signal.
By using a built-in adapter or a PC Card, plus a monthly data service plan, your notebook computer becomes networked with the click of a button. And with new third-generation (3G) technologies, mobile broadband services can provide download speeds of 400-700 Kbps or higher, which is plenty for reading e-mail, browsing the Web, or connecting to corporate applications. The connection feels fast. Offered by most major carriers, and with prices starting around $60 per month, mobile broadband quickly becomes an indispensable "must-have."
A Day in the Life of Mobile Broadband
Just like your cell phone service, mobile broadband is available virtually anywhere you go during your business week:
- In an office conference room
- At a customer location
- At the airport
- During your commute on a bus, train or ferry
- In a hotel or at a friend's house
- At a family doctor appointment
- In a restaurant or café
- Waiting at the mall
- At a kid's soccer game (you can always turn it off)
- Where you are right now
Instead of trying to track down the person who knows the Wi-Fi password at your client's office or trying to find and sign in to yet another Wi-Fi hotspot which can cost $10 a pop, you can connect with mobile broadband easily and bypass these aggravations with the click of a button on your notebook. So don't go on a quest for hotspots. Instead, enjoy your morning coffee at the house or hotel -- or wherever you are -- because connectivity comes to you. Mobile broadband eliminates the boundaries, giving you a productive environment almost anywhere you are.
More Productive Work Time
Many people have used single-function devices and smart phones connected through cellular data networks in order to read e-mail. While these devices are great for "e-mail triage," the small screens and tiny keypads of these devices make creating a full response or accessing attachments difficult. By bringing broadband connectivity to your notebook computer, with its larger screen and full-size keyboard, you can read these same e-mail messages, open attachments, and craft full replies that can make the difference in solving a customer's problem or moving a project along.
And unlike the very basic Web-based information services available on these smaller devices, you can use your desktop applications, a full Web browser, and other connected applications to work normally from virtually anywhere.
Most users will prefer the reliability, convenience and performance of a built-in mobile broadband modem compared to an external PC Card. Built-in cards stay out of your way and integrate with existing wireless antennas, which are usually integrated behind the notebook display screen. By building the antenna into the notebook, the risk of it getting bent or broken is minimized.
In addition, when a notebook computer is purchased with a built-in card, all of the appropriate drivers and connection manager software come pre-installed. (You can purchase built-in cards from Dell for AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless mobile broadband services* in the U.S. and for TELUS mobile broadband service in Canada.) You just need to perform a one-time service activation and then click the "Connect" button. It's that simple.
One more benefit is the improved performance of built-in cards compared to external PC Cards. By placing the antenna away from the internal components of the notebook computer, where there is the most electrical interference, performance has been shown to improve by more than 45 percent in some studies*.
Mobile Broadband vs. Wi-Fi
How mobile broadband differs from Wi-Fi connectivity:
|Mobile Broadband||Wi-Fi |
|Coverage Area||Measured in miles||Measured in feet|
|Connect From Virtually Anywhere||Yes||No (requires Wi-Fi Hotspot)|
|Technologies||3G (HSDPA, EVDO) ||802.11b/g|
|Single Plan provides broad coverage*||Yes||No|
|Service Costs||~$60 per month (with voice plan), ~$80 per month (data only)||~$30 per month per service, ~$10 per day for day pass|
Who Carries The Data?
Mobile broadband comes from the same companies that bring you cellular voice service:
The data service can be purchased separately, but many carriers offer a discount if you couple the plan with an existing cellular voice service. Because of this discount, most users will opt to purchase their voice and data services from the same carrier. Although the technologies are different, all services provide fast data connectivity.
- AT&T DataConnect
- Sprint Mobile Broadband
- Verizon Wireless Broadband Access
- TELUS Wireless High Speed
Mobile Broadband Solutions from Dell
Dell offers a full selection of mobile broadband products along with customer assistance for sign-up and activation with the mobile broadband service of your choice. Whether you are purchasing a new notebook, or upgrading an existing notebook to mobile broadband, Dell has a wide variety of options, including built-in mini-cards and external ExpressCards for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless's mobile broadband networks.
Dell has the right notebook to meet your needs. Every small business notebook computer that Dell sells can be fitted with an ExpressCard and many models support the built-in mini-card. The mini-card option is currently available on the Dell Latitude D430 ultra-portable, D630, D830, and ATG notebooks as well as the Dell PrecisionTM M4300 model, and the Vostro 1400, 1500 and 1700 lines. Because these Dell notebooks ship with low-interference wireless antennas hidden behind the display screen, your mobile broadband performance can be up to 45 percent faster* than other options. So when configuring a notebook computer, it's not just the processor, memory, and hard disk choices you need to consider. If you're a busy professional, a built-in mobile broadband card can add more productive time to your week.
For more information, go to www.dell.com/mobilebroadband.
This article was written in part while sitting in a comfortable chair in a doctor's office waiting room. Without mobile broadband, I'd be reading six-month-old magazines.