What is a USB dongle?

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So what is a USB dongle? A USB dongle is a name for a stick, similar in appearance to a simple USB memory stick, that houses a mobile broadband modem and sim card. This allows the user to access high-speed internet wherever they can get mobile phone signal. The broadband connection comes from the mobile phone networks.

USB ‘dongles’ are typically available on contract and on pay as you go deals, where you can buy ‘data’ or a certain amount of time allowance to use your dongle – depending on the network provider.

USB dongles house a sim card (the same type as used in a phone) which allows the network provider to track and bill any usage. This allows for the USB dongle to be shared easily with others, whereas a sim-embedded notebook computer would have to have the sim removed and then inserted into another laptop which had a sim card reader built in.

USB dongles are usually capable of auto-launching an internet browser and software for mobile browsing as soon as they’re inserted into the USB port. This means most users can be online within a minute of inserting a dongle – providing your network has coverage of the area!

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