cellular modem

(redirected from mobile broadband card)

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 ?
Total Equipment Protection (TEP), administered by Asurion, provides complete protection for a customer's phone, smartphone or Sprint mobile broadband card against loss, theft and liquid or physical damage.
Total Equipment Protection (TEP), administered by Asurion, provides customers complete protection for their phone, smartphone or Sprint mobile broadband card.
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DROID, iPhone 3GS, HTC Hero, Blackberry, Samsung Moment, Android, Nokia Booklet 3G, Power Mat, Virgin Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband Card, and more.
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