Dell has unveiled a host of new software technologies designed to make hybrid work arrangements more productive. The software suite is called Dell Optimizer and, in typical Dell fashion, there is a large number of software tools that are part of it. Since it is software for people who work from home, all the tools have a scenario of ‘make a Zoom call from my couch’ in mind. Despite the business angle that Dell takes here, which always causes a yawn or two, there is one very interesting new feature: the ability to connect to two Internet sources at the same time.
Dell calls this technology ExpressConnect, saying it is “the world’s first simultaneous multi-network connection.” The company claims that with dual network connections, everything will be faster and better. However, some of the claims are laughable. The benefits include 3x less buffering, 30 percent faster app and data processing, and 20 percent more data transfer. The buffering makes sense, but the other two are so vaguely worded that they mean nothing. However, we saved the best for last; Dell claims it also gives you 8x better video quality.
Now, maybe Dell laptops have some sort of secret sauce in them, but 8x? For real? A slow connection can reduce the resolution of the feed, but 8x just seems like a pie in the sky measurement.
Unfortunately, Dell does not explain how these numbers came about. The website only states: “Based on testing conducted by Dell in June 2020, comparing performance with ExpressConnect enabled and disabled. Actual results may vary.” It’s a shame Dell didn’t go into more detail about how it arrived at these numbers. we want it† No, not for Zoom calls, for gaming. As PC Gamer points out, this sounds like it could be pretty great for anyone looking to maximize their bandwidth, and Wi-Fi gaming is one area that could really benefit from it.
How do you actually use it? According to Dell, it’s confusing. The company’s PR says two different things, noting that it “sends and receives data and video traffic simultaneously over two or more wired or wireless connections.” wait, two or more? What?! We’re not sure how that would be possible unless you were in an office with overlapping Wi-Fi networks. You can also connect dual LAN connections, if your laptop offers it, which it doesn’t. However, you may be able to connect to both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands of your router. Another splash page says it only allows two connections, which seems more likely. Anyway, Dell also states that you may need a USB Wi-Fi adapter to connect to the second Wi-Fi network. In addition, 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.