Competition in the full-size truck mark is beyond cutthroat. Every single model year is a race to outdo the competition in some form or another. While some companies focus entirely on boosting the power of their trucks, others focus almost exclusively on new trims or cabin features. In some rare cases, like the 2023 Ford F-250 and its bigger sibling, the F-350, Ford went ahead and updated almost every aspect of the truck. One of these updates includes something a lot of people probably didn’t see coming: 5G Wi-Fi hotspot support.
This was one of the features that were discussed in a recent article here at AutoInfluence, covering some of the more exciting new additions to the Super Duty series of trucks beyond just its performance overhauls. But what really stands out here is where this puts the F-Series of Super Duty trucks in comparison to some of its nearest competitors, namely the Silverado HD series and the Ram 2500 and 3500 series.
Super Duty’s 5G vs Ram’s 4G
The 2023 F-250 and 350 both have received 5G Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. This gives the Super Duty series a serious advantage over the competition because, by comparison, the heavy-duty variants from Ram for the 2023 model year are actually still equipped with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. That’s an interesting development because Stellantis actually had Ram’s infotainment upgraded for 2023 with an improved digital driver display to match the rest of the infotainment suite.
It’s also interesting because the Ram had its whole Uconnect system updated several years ago for the 2020 model year to the Uconnect 5, an upgrade over the Uconnect 4. However, years on and even with the updates to the infotainment, adding new features, and increasing the touchscreen and digital driver display, the Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity has not been updated for the 2023 model year outing. It can leave you scratching your head over that decision.
Ford, meanwhile, pushed forward and decided that for the 2023 model year Super Duty series, you would have options when it comes to the 2023 F-250 and F-350 with hotspot connectivity. That meant upgrading from the previous model year’s 4G LTE services. So in terms of heavy-duty tech, the Super Duty trucks from Ford have managed to outdo Ram in this key area. It definitely gives heavy-duty truck shoppers something to think about when it comes to tech and connecting smart devices to the vehicle for network purposes.
Super Duty’s Wi-Fi vs the Silverado HD Wi-Fi
The Ford vs Chevy debate never leaves the orbit of discussion within the automotive community. It will persist for as long as the two brands continue to pump out new model year iterations of popular vehicles (or new vehicles) in competing segments. The same applies to the heavy-duty line-up of vehicles from both companies. Typically, when it comes to model year outings, Chevy is either one step ahead of Ford, or Ford is one step ahead of Chevy. However, in this instance, Ford managed to get a very clear one-up on Chevy in the Wi-Fi department for the 2023 model year outing of its heavy-duty variants.
The 2023 line-up of Silverado HD trucks, consisting of the 2500 HD and 3500 HD, are still only using a 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection as part of the Chevrolet Connected Access suite. It’s not something to scoff at, but clearly, if you’re in the market for a 2023 model year three-quarter-ton or one-ton pickup, knowing that you get the 5G feature on the 2023 Ford F-250 or 350 and not on the Silverado can certainly change some minds. But it’s not as if Chevy isn’t aware.
Back in 2021 GM and AT&T combined forces to provide future 5G network capabilities for all GM vehicles set to arrive on the market within a ten-year span. That means that any new model year from 2024 onward could end up sporting 5G network capabilities. That also includes Chevy’s upcoming line-up of 2024 vehicles, like the Silverado HD series. So while the 2023 Ford F-Series had a head start, Chevy is keeping pace.
Connecting Up to Ten Devices With the 5G Wireless Hotspot
Another area where Ford has managed to stay ahead of the competition is in the amount of devices that they allow you to connect to their Wi-Fi hotspot. For the Super Duty series, you can actually connect up to ten devices over Ford’s 5G Wi-Fi hotspot setup. That means if you had five people with two smart devices each, everybody could be connected to the F-250 or F-350 if it were working as a hotspot destination.
By comparison, the 2023 Silverado HD trucks are limited to seven devices that can connect to the vehicle through the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. That might be enough for some people, but imagine if you managed to pile six people into a Silverado HD and used it at a campsite or needed it at a remote work site. If you had multiple phones––one for personal and one for business––basically everyone would only be able to connect one device to the network at a time. Now imagine if you had work laptops or tablets that you also had to use for spreadsheets, pulling up contracts, downloading graphs, or trying to send data from the work site back to the office––you’re severely handicapped unless other people brought vehicles with 4G LTE connectivity as well. Whereas with the 2023 Ford F-250 and F-350, you can connect more phones, laptops, tablets, and any other devices you need to access the network.
Now the 2023 Ram HD series actually comes a bit closer to Ford’s offerings by allowing up to eight devices to be connected to their 4G LTE hotspot. That definitely gives you more leeway in what you connect and how many you can connect. Even still, the 2023 Ram’s eight devices over a 4G LTE network still come up short of Ford’s ten devices over a 5G network connection.
Benefits Of 5G for the Super Duty Series
When talking about how the 2023 Super Duty series has managed to one-up its competitors in the realm of hotspot connectivity, it might be prudent in some way to at least explain why this is important for those of you who don’t know. So, 4G LTE Wi-Fi actually has very fast speeds, which can range from several megabits per second all the way up to 100 megabits per second. This gives you fairly fast connection rates if you’re connecting your smart device to your vehicle, transferring data from a network to your infotainment system, or utilizing over-the-air updates to update or upgrade your infotainment, safety, or tech suite.
When it comes to 5G, what you have access to is up to ten gigabits per second of data transfer rates. That is the equivalent of 10,000 megabits per second. So essentially, the 2023 Ford F-250 and F-350 have Wi-Fi hotspot connection speeds that are 100 times faster than the Wi-Fi connections available for the 2023 Chevy Silverado HD and Ram heavy-duty series. That gives you an idea of what sort of differences you’re working with when it comes to the connection rates and just how much more data you can transfer using the Super Duty trucks compared to the competition.
Now another thing to consider is that this doesn’t just affect the connection rates between the vehicle and smart devices but also the vehicle and Ford’s network services. So when it comes to over-the-air updates––which have become much more frequent and common for newer model year vehicles––you will be able to update the F-Series systems rapidly. In some cases, you may not even know an update has been downloaded; it’s just that fast.
Go Big and Get Fast Wi-Fi With the F-250
Once again, if you needed to send important or large files remotely while away from a standard network, you could use the hotspot connectivity of the Super Duty 5G services to quickly and rapidly send and receive data on the fly. It’s a perfect system for scenarios where you’re working on a remote construction site and need to send or receive CAD files, floor plans, or detailed pictures or videos of the site, and you’re looking for instant feedback without delays. It really puts into perspective just how important this update is for the 2023 model year Super Duty series from Ford and how it paves the way for more functionality and productivity out of the heavy-duty truck segment.