By Chris Buchanan, Client Solutions Director, Dell Technologies South Africa
Such a simple concept and one we all recognise 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 year. South Africa’s major mobile network operators are continuously expanding their 5G networks, with this technology now available through most operators in most of the country’s major metros, and organisations are queuing up impending private 5G deployments. Globally, the number of 5G connections is expected to grow to over a billion this year from a baseline of roughly 10 million in 2019 (Source: IDC). 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 organisations 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 specialised roles – for example architects or engineers sharing large chunks of data like CAD, BIM and 3D visualisation 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 broaden healthcare services like tele-surgery, where it may not be possible for specialists and patients to be in the same location, too. Reduced latency can also benefit customers in other fast-paced industries like finance. As 5G becomes more prominent, we’ll see organisations find new ways of using it to deliver better products and services.
Our engineers and software specialists have been designing for hybrid work lifestyles for the past 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 automatically joins the strongest access points in your building and prioritises bandwidth for conferencing applications, resulting in fewer interruptions wherever you work. This means that 5G-ready devices like Dell Latitude 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. WiFi 6E options are available on multiple Latitude models.
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 organisational performance, productivity and collaboration. For example, our Latitude 9510 device, the first 5G-capable business PC with Intel vPro on the market[ii], offers IT administrators an enterprise-grade level 5G device for their organisations, giving executives and mobile professionals access to ultra-fast 5G speeds and reliable connectivity.
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 life[iii], Express Sign-in and app prioritisation.
The past 18 months 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.