5G will bring a new possibility: laptops whose power does not matter remotely connected to home PCs

In these pre-Christmas weeks, planning the visit to the family home (with ten days of voluntary isolation and a double mask only removed to eat two meters from each other), one thinks about their options to take the technology behind. In my case, a laptop, which is what I have, period. Which also leads me to think about what other options I could have if tomorrow I wanted something more powerful and perhaps modular , something in the form of a desktop.

First problem: I move! I am an autonomous expatriate and my work cannot be limited to a computer anchored to a desk. When the pandemic ends, even less, since recurring trips to Madrid will return. Let’s look at some possible combinations:

  • A desktop plus a tablet with keyboard and trackpad . Disadvantage: the tablet can limit me when it comes to working outside the home.
  • A powerful laptop for everything, like now . Disadvantage: it is not the most advisable to spend the vast majority of time at a desk connected to an external monitor.
  • A decent desktop plus a decent laptop to get around . Disadvantage: this is a sum that exceeds what you can budget for such an investment.

In these ideas, making guesses and mental sums as well as evaluations of future satisfaction, I considered a fourth way that I had not contemplated because the reality of telecommunications still does not make it as viable as a priori it will be in the future:

  • A powerful desktop and a laptop or tablet with a keyboard and trackpad where power doesn’t matter and the price is low . This is a possibility that does not make much sense today, but when 5G stops being 4G + with a new hat to be 5G in its own right, 5G-SA , then it will.

Waiting for 5G SA

The crumb will be that if the theory is fulfilled and 5G brings us much greater bandwidths, fewer connectivity problems in areas far from the current LTE antennas, more speed and a latency similar to that of fiber via WiFi, then we can think about connecting remotely to our home computer wherever we are . The unlimited mobile data rates that have already been standardized in the offer of the telecos also encourage you to dream of this scenario.

Without 4G we would not have been able to take on the ‘stories’ or live video from anywhere; without 5G we cannot assume possibilities that are falling

The idea would be to have a rather basic laptop connected via remote desktop to the home PC, and with the low latency of 5G and the rest of the benefits that we already have burned from reading them, to be able to run the home desktop with little perceptible delay . And edit heavy images, audio, etc. without our modest laptop messing up, because the computing power is put by someone else.

It is a solution similar to that of headless computers to which we can connect remotely with any screen , be it a laptop or a tablet. Only without beheading him.

By dreaming, we can even dream of a kind of Stadia or our own xCloud with our local games to play from anywhere, without the need for a gamer laptop to test our cervicals when we have to carry it in our backpack.

The same with our collection of movies or series in local, and of course with applications ( AKA “programs”) of heavy work, such as Final Cut Pro running on an iPad, as in the image that heads this article.

Is all this possible with 4G? Perhaps, but the experience is far from satisfactory, especially in certain mobility or in areas where coverage is not optimal, or there is a slight saturation of users connected to the same antenna.

In the same way that only the proliferation of ‘stories’ on multiple social platforms or the broadcast of live video could be normalized with the arrival of 4G , only with the arrival of 5G will we begin to assume as normal uses in mobility that now do not even we know, but they will come. At the moment I am evaluating the option of looking at a powerful desktop for 2024, when 5G will already be fully established. Or with that we want to dream.

John Hartshorne
Senior IT engineer by the UPM of training and technical editor by profession, I have been writing in print and online media since the late 90s.