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(computer science)
A hardware device that plugs into a computer or printer port and serves as a copy-protection device for certain software, which must verify its presence in order to run properly. Also known as hardware key.


/dong'gl/ (From "dangle" - because it dangles off the computer?)

1. <security> A security or copy protection device for commercial microcomputer programs that must be connected to an I/O port of the computer while the program is run. Programs that use a dongle query the port at start-up and at programmed intervals thereafter, and terminate if it does not respond with the expected validation code.

One common form consisted of a serialised EPROM and some drivers in a D-25 connector shell.

Dongles attempt to combat software theft by ensuring that, while users can still make copies of the program (e.g. for backup), they must buy one dongle for each simultaneous use of the program.

The idea was clever, but initially unpopular with users who disliked tying up a port this way. By 1993 almost all dongles passed data through transparently while monitoring for their particular magic codes (and combinations of status lines) with minimal if any interference with devices further down the line. This innovation was necessary to allow daisy-chained dongles for multiple pieces of software.

In 1998, dongles and other copy protection systems are fairly uncommon for Microsoft Windows software but one engineer in a print and CADD bureau reports that their Macintosh computers typically run seven dongles: After Effects, Electric Image, two for Media 100, Ultimatte, Elastic Reality and CADD. These dongles are made for the Mac's daisy-chainable ADB port.

The term is used, by extension, for any physical electronic key or transferable ID required for a program to function. Common variations on this theme have used the parallel port or even the joystick port or a dongle-disk.

An early 1992 advertisment from Rainbow Technologies (a manufacturer of dongles) claimed that the word derived from "Don Gall", the alleged inventor of the device. The company's receptionist however said that the story was a myth invented for the ad.


Originally slang for a plug-in module to copy protect software (see hardware key), the term is used for any small module that plugs in and sticks out of a socket; for example, USB flash memory drives and other USB devices such as a wireless mouse receiver or cellular air card. If it uses a very short cable, it may still be called a dongle. See HDMI dongle, cellular dongle, PC Card dongle and USB drive.
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SDR dongle will accelerate adoption of Sigfox technology for partners all across the world, says Laetitia Jay, Chief Marketing Officer at Sigfox.
com, the real innovation is the design of the dongle to consume only 1.
Protected software can immediately launch when the appropriate dongle is present or first require a manual or online activation process.
The LTE technology inside the D-Link eMBMS TV Dongle is Sequans' VZ20Q EZLinkLTE module, which is certified compliant with Verizon Wireless Open Network specifications and operates on LTE bands 4 and 13.
According to Huffington Post, users first need to play the iPhone game that works with the external Pop Dongle attachment and based on how many kernels land in 'The Almighty Mouth God', the more delicious popcorn smell is emitted.
As a result, it provides not only a large size in the radiator in wireless USB dongle devices but also some of these complicated antennas cannot cover some of these wireless bands [6,7].
Islamabad -- In a continued commitment to bring modern telecommunication solutions at affordable rates for its valued customers, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) - country's leading telecommunication network, has reduced the monthly recharge by 30%, offering massive savings on its 3G EVO Nitro dongles.
Based on the current of wideband mobile antennas, the wireless USB dongle antennas [9-13] can not cover overall LTE/GSM/UMTS operation.
With the all new Mercury Dongle Router one can easily create a Wi-Fi hot-spot around it with just push of a button.
According to Three most USB dongles are compatible with the Mobile Broadband Wi-Fi Hub, which has a range of 30 metres and supports dongle speeds up to 21 Mb/s.
On the other hand there are a lot of conventional dongle vendors and users, so our investigation and experiments were intended to show, if it was possible to implement good copy protection using dongles without code execution in combination with other well known software protection techniques, like software packers, anti-debugging, code obfuscation and so on.
IEC 60601-1 compliant for medical applications and safely, emissions and telecommunications compliant to meet most global medical device requirements, these medical modems are available as embedded modules with Serial TTL or USB interface or as a USB external dongle.