Dell has unveiled a host of new software technologies designed to make hybrid work arrangements more productive. The software suite is labeled Dell Optimizer, and in typical Dell fashion there’s a raft of software tools that are part of it. Since it’s software for people working from home, all the tools have a “making a Zoom call from my couch” scenario in mind. Despite the corporate angle Dell’s taking here, which always induces a yawn or two, there’s one very interesting new feature: the ability to connect to two internet sources at the same time.
Dell calls this technology ExpressConnect, and says it’s, “the world’s first simultaneous multi-network connection.” The company claims that with dual network connections, everything will be faster and better. However, some its claims are, well, laughable. For example, the benefits include: 3x less buffering, 30 percent faster app and data processing, and 20 percent more data transfers. The buffering thing makes sense, but the other two are so vaguely worded as to not mean anything. We saved the best one for last though; Dell claims it will also give you 8x better video quality.
Now, maybe Dell laptops have some kind of secret sauce in them, but 8x? Really? A slow connection might reduce the resolution of the feed but 8x just seems like a pie in the sky measurement.
Dell doesn’t explain how it got these numbers, unfortunately. Its website only states, “Based on testing performed by Dell in June 2020, comparing performance with ExpressConnect enabled and disabled. Actual results may vary.” It’s unfortunate Dell didn’t go into more detail about how it arrived at these numbers. Regardless, we want it. No, not for Zoom calls, for gaming. As PC Gamer points out, this sounds like it could be pretty awesome for anyone hoping to maximize their bandwidth, and gaming over Wi-Fi is an area that could really benefit from it.
Now, how do you actually use it? According to Dell, it’s confusing. The company’s PR says two different things, noting that it, “simultaneously sends and receives data and video traffic using two or more wired or wireless connections.” Wait, two or more? What?! We’re not sure how that would even be possible, unless you were in an office with overlapping Wi-Fi networks. You could also plug in dual LAN connections, if your laptop offered it, which they don’t. Perhaps you could connect to both the 2.4GHZ and 5GHz band of your router though. A different splash page says it only allows two connections, which seems more likely. Regardless, Dell also states you might need a USB Wi-Fi adapter to connect to the second Wi-Fi network. Also, the technology is only supported on select Latitude, Optiplex, Precision Workstations, and rugged laptops. You can see which ones are supported at the bottom of this page.
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