cellular modem

(redirected from USB cellular modem)

cellular modem

A device that adds wireless 3G or 4G (LTE) connectivity to a laptop or desktop computer. Typically available as an external USB module, the modem may also be on a PCI or PCI Express (PCIe) card that plugs into an empty slot on the motherboard. For older laptops, modems may be available for ExpressCard or PC Card/CardBus slots.

Known By Many Names
A cellular modem via USB is a "USB modem." On a card, it can be an "air card," "data card" or "broadband card." Generic terms are "broadband adapter," "broadband modem," "cellular adapter," "3G modem" and "4G modem."

Alternatives: Smartphones and Routers
While the cellular modem plugs directly into the computer, smartphones and stand-alone broadband routers convert cellular signals into a Wi-Fi hotspot for nearby devices. See cellular hotspot and mobile broadband router.

An Internet "Stick"
Connecting via USB, this Verizon modem adds 3G CDMA cellular data service to a computer or tablet. (Image courtesy of Verizon Wireless.)

A Hotspot and Tethering
This Android Galaxy Note 3 smartphone provides cellular data service by becoming a hotspot or by cabling directly to a computer via USB (see tethering). Older cellphones were occasionally used as dial-up modems for a computer.
References in periodicals archive ?
Rick Gretsch, VP of Product Management said: The new 6300- LX Cellular Extender expands Accelerated's cellular portfolio by adding the flexibility to use a USB cellular modem.
Among VoyagerECK's features is the ability to connect to secure networks through either a wired connection, the built-in wireless broadband router, or a USB cellular modem.
Similar in function to a home router, when combined with a 3G USB Cellular modem or 3G handset, the PHS automatically generates a secure, personal hotspot that follows subscribers wherever they go within coverage of their mobile broadband network.