cellular modem

(redirected from USB cellular modem)

cellular modem

A device that adds 3G or 4G (LTE) cellular connectivity to laptops, desktop computers and various tablets. Typically available as an external USB module, for desktop computers, the modem may also be available 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 or 4G modem."

Alternatives: Smartphones and Routers
While a cellular modem plugs directly into the computer, smartphones and stand-alone broadband routers convert cellular signals into a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to 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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Popular LTE Category 1 USB Cellular Modem Now Offers Even Broader Network Compatibility
Fully Loaded: The new SmartNode models include such state- of-the-art features as SRTP/TLS security, USB cellular modem support, dual software image, PSTN redundancy and fail-over, generic routing encapsulation (GRE tunneling), and border gateway protocol (BGP).
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. Our customers, whether connecting offices, stores, kiosks, ATMs or digital signage require that their devices are always connected and available.