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Unlocked USB Computer Modems

Unlocked USB computer modems allow you to access the Internet on your computer without a fixed line connection unlike other computer modems. They work using cellular network technology such as 3G and 4G, thereby enabling an Internet connection, provided you have a valid SIM card and data to use. You simply connect the computer modem to your computer via a USB port.

Locked vs. Unlocked

Often USB computer modems are 'locked' to a phone carrier in a similar manner to how phones are locked and can be used with only a particular network. This can prove to be disadvantageous if you find a better phone carrier with a better plan for example, as you are unable to change due to their device being locked to that brand. An unlocked USB computer modem, on the other hand, allows you to freely use a SIM card from any network to access the Internet.

Data Speeds and Networks

A range of unlocked USB computer modems are available on the market, with one of the key distinguishing features between models being whether they connect to a 3G or 4G network. If you are familiar with mobile phones, you have probably heard these terms before. The 'G' stands for generation, and the particular network determines the type of data speeds available. A 3G USB computer modem would offer data speeds of 400 kbps to up to 42 Mbps, depending on the connection quality. A 4G connection, as the successive iteration, has significantly improved data speeds, which is commonly between 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, which is extraordinarily fast. These ranges are a guide as actual speed depends on many factors.


Determining whether an unlocked 3G or 4G modem is right for you largely depends on your particular needs. First, 3G is significantly slower; however, there is more 3G access available to people around Australia than 4G, especially outside of dense population zones. As an older technology, it is generally more affordable as well. A 4G USB computer modem may be more appropriate as 4G connections can often be significantly faster than other Internet connections in Australia, including the NBN. As such, it is often being the fastest solution available and beneficial to people who need access to large files quickly.

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