What is a Dongle?

In today’s hyper-connected world, WiFi has become the lifeblood of our digital existence. From smartphones to smart homes, the ability to access wireless networks seamlessly has transformed the way we live, work, and entertain ourselves and others. But what if a wired or even wireless wifi connection isn’t available? Enter the Wi-Fi dongle. 

The WiFi dongle is a small device that enables a computer or other device to connect to a wireless network. It typically plugs into a USB port on the computer or device and acts as a receiver/transmitter for WiFi signals.

The WiFi dongle, also known as a USB WiFi adapter, is a small device that enables devices like computers, laptops, or gaming consoles to connect to wireless networks. They are a game changer for remote workers, frequent travellers and those with older devices amongst others.

The WiFi dongle is a small device that enables a computer or other device to connect to a wireless network. It typically plugs into a USB port on the computer or device and acts as a receiver/transmitter for WiFi signals.

How do dongles work?

Dongles will plug into a device via a connection such as a USB port and act as a wireless network interface controller, allowing the device to communicate with WiFi networks without the need for built-in WiFi capability. WiFi dongles are commonly used to upgrade older devices, provide WiFi connectivity to devices without it, or enhance wireless capabilities in areas with poor signal strength.

A WiFi dongle is a small device that enables a computer or other device to connect to a wireless network. It typically plugs into a USB port on the computer or device and acts as a receiver/transmitter for WiFi signals.

Wi-Fi Dongle: 

A Wi-Fi dongle, also known as a USB Wi-Fi adapter, enables devices without built-in Wi-Fi capability to connect to wireless networks. It plugs into a USB port and acts as a wireless network interface controller.

Bluetooth Dongle: 

A Bluetooth dongle adds Bluetooth functionality to devices that do not have it built-in. It allows devices to connect wirelessly for data transfer, audio streaming, and other Bluetooth-enabled functionalities.

Modem Dongle: 

A modem dongle connects to a computer’s USB port and provides internet access by utilising cellular networks. It acts as a modem, allowing users to access the internet from remote locations where Wi-Fi networks may not be available.

Mi-Fi Dongle: 

Mi-Fi is short for “mobile Wi-Fi,” and refers to portable Wi-Fi hotspots that provide internet access by utilising cellular data networks. Mi-Fi dongles are compact devices that create a Wi-Fi network, allowing multiple devices to connect to the internet simultaneously using cellular data.

Security Dongle: 

A security dongle, also known as a hardware security key, is a USB device that provides an additional layer of security for accessing sensitive information or systems. It typically generates one-time passwords or cryptographic keys to authenticate users and prevent unauthorised access.

Storage (Flash Drive) Dongle: 

A storage dongle, often referred to as a USB flash drive, is a small portable storage device that connects to a computer’s USB port. It allows users to store and transfer files, documents, and other data between devices.

Audio Dongle: 

An audio dongle is a device that connects to a device’s audio output port, typically via USB or 3.5mm audio jack and provides wireless audio connectivity. It allows users to stream audio from their device to wireless headphones, speakers, or other audio devices.

Dongles allow users to access wireless networks and connect to the internet without needing to run Ethernet cables or install internal wireless network cards.

WiFi dongles are useful for devices that do not have built-in WiFi capabilities, such as older desktop computers or laptops, or for expanding the WiFi capabilities of devices that have limited connectivity options.

How do dongles work?

Modem dongles establish internet connections via cellular networks, while Mi-Fi dongles create portable hotspots for multiple devices. Security dongles enhance device security through authentication measures, while storage dongles, like USB flash drives, offer additional storage and data transfer capabilities. Audio dongles provide wireless audio connectivity, transmitting audio signals to compatible devices. Each dongle type serves to augment device capabilities, providing users with expanded functionality and connectivity options.

Use cases for dongles

Remote workers:

WiFi Dongles benefit remote workers by enabling internet access from anywhere, while Bluetooth dongles reduce cable clutter by facilitating wireless communication with peripherals. Modem and Mi-Fi dongles ensure reliable internet connectivity, even in remote areas. Security dongles enhance data protection, great for working in locations with public and therefore insecure Wi-Fi. 

Frequent travellers:

For travellers, dongles serve as indispensable tools, ensuring seamless connectivity and convenience on the go. Wi-Fi dongles provide essential internet access from diverse locations. Modem and Mi-Fi dongles guarantee continuous internet connectivity  while travelling, even in remote locations.. Security dongles bolster cybersecurity measures, crucial for safeguarding sensitive data during travel. Additionally, storage and audio dongles offer added functionality, enabling travellers to store data and enjoy wireless entertainment effortlessly. In essence, dongles are essential companions for travellers, empowering them to navigate the world with confidence and connectivity.

Back up for your home router:

Using Wi-Fi dongles as a backup plan can be a good idea as they will act as a backup in the event of network disruptions. It could be a good idea to have especially if you live in a remote area,  often have an unreliable connection or are unable to use ethernet cables.

Pros and cons of using wireless dongles


Portability: Dongles are small and portable, making them convenient for use with laptops and other devices and are ideal for remote workers and working on the go.

Security: Certain dongles, like security dongles, provide added protection for device and online account access.

Backup plan: Dongles are a great backup plan even in homes with a usually secure network connection. You never know, it could go down when you need it most.


5G availability: 5G is not currently available everywhere, 4G is the strongest signal widely available however this is not always sufficient for large uploads/downloads.

Download limits: Dongles often have download limits which vary between providers so it’s best to check this before committing.

Cost and risk of loss/damage: Dongles can be costly, especially if multiple dongles are needed to provide the desired functionality. Due to their small size and portability, they are also easier to lose or damage.

Tips for choosing the right dongle

Price: Compare prices and features across different dongle models to find the best value for your budget. Consider factors such as warranty, customer support, and additional bundled software or services to assess the overall value proposition.

Compatibility and data limit: Ensure that the dongle is compatible with your device’s operating system and hardware interfaces – check compatibility with specific devices such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, or tablets and that the data limitations of the dongle match your download needs.

Contract length and future compatibility: Check the contract length and anticipate future compatibility and expansion needs. Perhaps opt for a dongle that supports future hardware or software upgrades or a shorter contract/upgrade system.

Dongle devotion?

Dongles offer many great solutions, from Wi-Fi on the move to better security, storage and Bluetooth capabilities. The various solutions mentioned above may not necessarily be the best solution for you and your specific needs – we recommend you conduct your own research before purchasing. If you wish to contact us or read more of our advice, please visit Jurassic Fibre advice here.

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