Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, June 5, 2020
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Dell, Orange 5G Network Trials Show 20x Improvement 

Dell Technologies and partner Orange have completed field trials of the wireless carrier’s 5G network, linking a Dell notebook to a prototype grid that achieved speeds 20 times faster than current 4G networks.

The initial field trials reached sustained download speeds of more than 900 megabits per second. Those results, the partners said Friday (Feb. 21), represent the ability to move data on enterprise-grade mobile platforms. By comparison, 4G wireless networks typically top out at around 60 megabits per second.

Dell (NYSE: DELL) formerly announced its 5G partnership with the French wireless carrier (NYSE: ORAN) during last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. The partnership supports Dell’s latest Latitude “5G-ready” notebook incorporating AI tools and aimed at business customers.

The partnership is designed to develop a cloud mobility platform aimed at enterprise users.

“Enhanced broadband communications and lower latency enables new usage models and users to complete tasks much faster than 4G-enabled networks, which creates and drives new business models and new applications, like augmented and virtual reality, cloud-assisted gaming, real-time language translation and image processing,” said Liam Quinn, a Dell senior vice president.

The successful field trial is the latest illustration of how 5G technology is expected to proliferate over the next several years as millions of edge devices and the data they generate are linked on high-speed networks. Juniper Research forecast last month that the total number of 5G connections will jump from about 5 million subscribers in 2019 to a staggering 1.5 billion globally by 2025.

The market researcher predicts 5G “will provide the data infrastructure not just for the next generation of mobile communications but for serious developments in [Internet of Things], including smart cities and autonomous vehicles.”

Along with Orange, other early 5G rollouts include AT&T (NYSE: T), Sprint/T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) in the U.S. and Samsung in South Korea (KRX: 005930).

For its part, Dell recently signed on to a 5G open software effort designed to help U.S. companies keep pace with leading 5G hardware vendors like Huawei. The Chinese network equipment giant is effectively banned from selling telecommunications gear in the U.S.

The open software standards would virtualize hardware and allow 5G networks to run on any manufacturer’s equipment.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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