Ask LH: Can I Plug A 4G SIM Into My Router?

Ask LH: Can I Plug A 4G SIM Into My Router?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently moved house and I have had to make do with using a 4G/3G USB modem for internet access. Is there a way to plug this thing into a Wi-Fi router so it acts like an ADSL modem/router does? I seem to remember devices like this in the past. Thanks, Rerouted

Dear Rerouted,

The easiest solution is to turn your 4G/3G modem into a Wi-Fi hotspot using a compatible wireless router. Your modem simply plugs into the router’s USB port to create Wi-Fi zone for all your devices.

You should be able to snap one up for around $50-$80. You can get these direct from the major telco providers offering 4G services as well as third-party vendors like Netcomm. Check out Lifehacker’s 4G hotspot Planhacker for a comprehensive list.

Naturally, you’ll want to check your modem’s compatibility with the router before making your purchase: most models will have a list of compatible devices on the packaging. Also, if you’re not planning to be in one place for a long while, it makes sense to go with a pre-paid plan rather than a contract.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • “if you’re not planning to be in one place for a long while, it makes sense to go with a pre-paid plan rather than a contract.” ??? it’s a wireless service, I’m sure if he moves in xx months, probably will work in Australia.

    • Except that it appears he is using it because he can’t get a proper landline connection. If he moves, he may be able to get a fixed line connection, thus making the 4G sim useless.

      • A. if he is not in this place for long what likelihood would the next place be more fixed?
        B. why dose access to a fixed line service make a wireless service useless? if the fixed line service is not NBN, it would probably be slower.

  • Sierra Wireless Aircard 320U is compatible with almost nothing, especially don’t expect dd-wrt to work as it uses the newer Direct-IP interface to get the 40 Mbps speeds.

  • Why not provide the user with an answer that doesn’t require them to purchase additional hardware?

    Using Windows or OSX you can quite easily create an ad hoc wireless network, then enable internet connection sharing between the wireless network and your 3/4G USB modem.

    • I have a Telstra 4G Sierra Wireless Aircard but it does not show up on the Windows wireless networks screen. I’ve tried the connection sharing wizard to enable wifi and even though the modem can be found, Telstra seem to have blocked sharing capability as a message comes up saying that the connection cannot be made. If you can find a way around this please let us know.

  • I use Telstra NextG temporarily until I move to another location.

    My experience with NextG routers is they don’t account for network instability which is common with NextG even with good signal.

    So they work until the network disconnects and then you either have to go to the routers web page to click the connect button until it works or turn the routers power off then back on.

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