5G: The Next Step Towards an Always-connected Future

5G is more than just “fast.” While some sources describe 5G as 10X faster than 4G, it isn’t just about speed alone.

Connecting [adj.]: The act of linking one person or thing with another.

Such a simple concept and one we all recognize as part of the human experience. In our professional lives, connectivity is playing an evolving role, as individuals and teams become more mobile – working, sharing and collaborating from anywhere.

5G has never been more relevant than it has in the past two years. In the United States alone, major telecommunications providers have rolled out large scale 5G services, new greenfield 5G network plans are in the works, and enterprises are queuing up impending private 5G deployments. The number of 5G connections is expected to grow to over a billion by 2023, from a baseline of roughly 10 million in 2019 . And we predict that enterprises will drive the pace of 5G adoption. Here’s why:

5G is More Than Just “Fast”

While some sources describe 5G as 10X faster than 4G, it isn’t just about speed alone. Sure, downloading a full-length movie in seconds on 5G ahead of a long flight is impressive, but it’s hardly the “killer application” that will drive mass adoption. What is a potential game-changer, however, is the way organizations can use 5G to take advantage of the strengthened security, increased bandwidth and reduced latency benefits.

    • Security: 5G features 256-bit encryption, making it a more secure connectivity option over 128-bit encryption on 4G, thereby making the company’s data safer. 5G offers a more secure experience compared to public Wi-Fi networks like those found in airports, hotels and coffee shops. Those unsecured networks can often expose companies to cybersecurity threats like ransomware and hacking.
    • Bandwidth: More bandwidth leads to less time in limbo as employees wait for file transfers to finish. Not to be confused with speed, bandwidth measures how much information can be sent or received at once. While many customers usually exchange small file sizes with each other, 5G bandwidth is helpful for those in specialized roles – for example architects or engineers sharing large chunks of data like CAD, BIM and 3D visualization project files, or creators sharing their latest version of an edit.
    • Latency: Key to achieving real-time performance, the reduced latency on 5G is the only option for time-sensitive decision-making. For customers like emergency responders or specialists like mountain rescue, uninterrupted connectivity in remote locations can be the difference between life and death for those they are trying to help. You can easily picture how 5G can help broader healthcare services like telesurgery, where it may not be possible for specialists and patients to be in the same location. Reduced latency can also benefit customers in other fast-paced industries like finance. As 5G becomes more prominent, we’ll see organizations find new ways of using it to deliver better products and services.

Always Connected

Our engineers and software specialists have been designing for hybrid work lifestyles for the last few years. We’ve combined high-quality, light devices with in-built intelligent features like Dell Optimizer software which enhances the performance of your system. This includes ExpressConnect, which maximizes network speed by automatically connecting to the strongest access points, plus users can get up to 30% lower latency and 3x less buffering.¹ This means that 5G-ready devices like our Latitude 9420 and Latitude 9520 laptops are the foundation of an always-connected experience, making them a great option for the increasingly nomadic workforce of today. Ultimately, choice is key, as employees seek seamless and dependable connectivity options that fit their lifestyles. Here are some of the innovative connectivity options available:

    • 5G and 4G LTE: A valid SIM card is all that’s needed to get online access via a 4G LTE cellular network anywhere in the United States, also allowing you to tap into 5G service whenever it’s available. Users no longer need to compromise their smartphone battery life to access the internet – and it’s a great option where users are on the move, time is of the essence, or where secure Wi-Fi isn’t an option. Even from the comfort of your home, 5G-enabled devices are a great back-up for other connectivity options. Anyone who has had to compete for bandwidth with members of their household all working/learning remotely and gaming or streaming at the same time knows the struggle.
    • eSIM: For ultimate mobility, there are devices that offer eSIM technology, which automatically connects devices to mobile carriers while employees travel globally. Workers can tap into global LTE access without having to swap SIM cards (although it’s worth noting that a SIM slot is a great backup). Most Latitude devices are offered with eSIM ready options in select regions.
    • Wi-Fi 6E: Wi-Fi options also continue to evolve. Wi-Fi 6 “Extended” (also known as Wi-Fi 6E) allows additional channels and more bandwidth per channel, which will provide faster, smoother, and more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, especially in high-density areas. Wi-Fi 6E options are available on our Latitude 9420, 5000 series and 3320 devices.²

Connecting the World

To truly make connectivity a reliable option worldwide, we’re focusing on global partnerships to address the regional nuances in 5G networks.

5G-enabled laptops will establish a solid foundation on which to build an always-connected future – improving organizational performance, productivity, and collaboration. In the United States, we introduced the industry’s first 5G-enabled business PCs in early 2020, with additional models added since that date.

These 5G-enabled Latitude 9000 Series devices are currently available through Dell and through our North American partners, AT&T and T-Mobile. We’re also excited to share that these devices are now Verizon 5G Nationwide capable, offering customers even more choice. Back in September 2020, we also announced the availability of the first 5G-capable business PC in Europe, compatible with most major carriers.

Marrying the vast broadband networks with Dell Latitude devices enables enterprise employees to stay connected on lightweight, portable, ultra-premium devices, featuring up to 30-hours of battery life³, Express Sign-in and app prioritization.

The past two years have redefined what “connecting” means. Looking forward, interpersonal and technological connectivity will continue to play a crucial role in how the future of work evolves.

¹ Based on testing performed by Dell Labs in June 2020, comparing performance with ExpressConnect enabled and disabled.  Actual results may vary; testing results do not guarantee performance under test conditions.

² Requires Windows 11. Regional availability may vary.

³ Battery life is based on preliminary testing of Latitude 9510 with Intel Core i5- 10210U, 16GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 88Whr battery and FHD non-touch display, using the Mobile Mark 2014 benchmark test available at www.bapco.com. Test results are for comparative purposes only. Actual battery life may be significantly less than the test results and varies depending on product configuration and use, software, operating conditions, power management settings and other factors. Maximum battery life will decrease with time.

About the Author: Meghana Patwardhan

Meghana Patwardhan is a product management executive with over 13 years of experience in product strategy, definition, go-to market and operations. She currently leads the Commercial Client Products Group at Dell Technologies. Previously, she led Mainstream PCs Business Unit, Precision workstations Product Management team, and the Latitude Product Planning team. She holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from UT Austin and a MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. In her spare time, you can find her cooking, playing board games, traveling or hiking with her husband and two kids.