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Laptops With Built-In 4G / 3G Connectivity?

Discussion in 'Gadgets | Software | Apps' started by Kaustubh Katdare, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Kaustubh Katdare

    Kaustubh Katdare Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    Was wondering why laptop manufacturers don't offer 4G or 3G connectivity built right into the machine itself. These days, most of the laptops have to rely on external dongles or other forms of connectivity - USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for Internet connections. Wouldn't it make it really convenient to the users to have the connectivity options built-in?

    Are there any technical limitations?
     
  2. ash

    ash Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Communications
    3G/4G is not as ubiquitous as WiFi, so for most laptops, it would make economic sense not to include it.

    Performance wise, its better to have an external 3G/4G dongle unless manufacturers spend more resources on optimizing antenna placements on the laptop as well as cooling methods (4G chips get really hot).

    During the netbook craze, people would have found its use mainly for internet on the go, wherever they are.. hence manufactures like Dell included models with 3G built in. But of course, the craze died over time since tablets came into view.
     
  3. Kaustubh Katdare

    Kaustubh Katdare Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    @ash - I think 3G (if not 4G) is more widespread than Wireless (IMHO). I can access 3G anywhere I'm roaming but I've to search for wifi hotspots which are rare. If I've to connect to the Internet when I'm traveling on a bus, I must get the connection from my Phone.

    Could you comment on how much difference will it make to the price if the laptops ship with inbuilt 3G/4G?
     
  4. Nayan Goenka

    Nayan Goenka Ace

    Engineering Discipline:
    IT
    There are some laptops with built in sim card facility. Actually I was looking for similar laptop to purchase when I got mine but I found that it is not feasible to include it within the laptop. As he rightly pointed out, heating issues, battery like problems occur. If you talk about cost, 1-2k difference might be there if they include connectivity within But that doesn't matter since you would have to buy a dongle less. But I think the companies should start giving on this facility in new laptops since there are solutions to this issue.

    Apart from this, there is a factor of marketing. If they give built-in dongle, who would purchase it from other companies, their loss.
     
  5. ash

    ash Moderator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Communications
    Well, in on-site situations like home or office, where laptops are more frequently used, then WiFi is more prevalent. For more high mobility areas like the bus, then I'd agree with you. But then again, using a dongle or the phone doesn't seem so inconvenient yet :p

    Hard to tell for an integrated solution, you'd need to factor in optimized antenna placement and chip location. Not much places where you can put on a laptop.. unless you don't mind an antenna sticking out. If I can reference to you to the Dell Mini 3G module, it costs around $50. Its not an integrated solution, more of an addin PCI-E module.. a bit heavier and bulkier than your average dongle. Performance wise, dongles always work better.

    What I do believe is that it would make sense to have LTE (as opposed to 3G) built in once the coverage has matured and chip design improved (to cover all major LTE bands). WiMAX laptops were quite prevalent at one time until people realized there isn't much future in it in most countries. I've tested WiMAX laptops before, they get hot quick and RF signal comparatively poor compared to a WiMAX dongle. Of course, still better than 3G of course.
     
  6. Kaustubh Katdare

    Kaustubh Katdare Administrator

    Engineering Discipline:
    Electrical
    Agreed. A dongle may not be inconvenient - but it's an attachment you've to carry all the time. More than 3G, I'd like to see 4G making it to these machines.
     
  7. Nayan Goenka

    Nayan Goenka Ace

    Engineering Discipline:
    IT
    You can always favor 4g but we should not forget the WiFi undertakings we have at many places. Many companies are focusing on Wi-Fi integrating areas. Like some project is going on in Chandigarh or Hyderabad or Bengaluru. They are about converting large areas into WiFi converage. So if they integrate with 3g now, that would seem outdated if you see after 5 years from now. Its better to include cell phone utility in Laptop. As in pace smartphones are developing they can be integrated into laptops. That can be a trend instead of focusing on 3g or 4g only
     

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