What Is a Dongle? Look Here For All Information About It

Last Updated: 2021-11-09
Summary: A dongle is a tiny device that plugs into a computer. Read on, and we’ll show you what precisely a dongle is, as well as other detail information about dongle.


A dongle is a tiny piece of computer hardware that enables users to connect to ports on other devices. The dongle can then provide additional functionality for connected devices.

There are one or more ports in a dongle that allows users to plug more devices into a computer simultaneously. It typically connects to a PC via parallel ports, though you can also use the ADB port in your Mac. A dongle delivers all the data through the ports to which it connects so that these ports can be used for other purposes. It is common to connect several dongles to a single port.

In computing, this term was synonymous with the software protection dongle, which is a device to protect content from access and replication. Since then, the term of dongle has been applied to other forms of devices with similar form factors. Such as adapters that convert ports to handle different kinds of connectors, standard USB wireless adapters, and tiny form-factor digital media players plugged into HDMI ports.

Types Of USB Dongles

Storage USB Dongle

Many modern dongles are Storage USB dongles, which are used for memory and storage.

USB Adapter Dongle

USB Adapter Dongle is Bluetooth Dongles that deliver information between two or more computers, smartphones, and other devices, without additional cables or cords.

USB Security Dongle

USB Security Dongle is used for authentication, which helps protect the hardware or software from unauthorized access.

Software applications and networks can be designed in this way that they can’t be accessed without a software key, such as security dongle. Such security dongles cab also keep electronic signatures.

GPS Navigation Dongle

GPS technology is becoming an essential part of smartphone software. While GPS Navigation Dongles are not in great demand right now, you might still find them useful when you don’t have a smartphone in hand.

GPS Navigation USB Dongle is completely computer-powered and converts laptops to navigation systems.

3G Dongle

3G dongle or Wi-Fi USB Dongle enables the connection of laptops and desktops without internal Wi-Fi cards to the Internet wirelessly.

Alternatives To Dongle

Smartphones: Most smartphones can only connect to mobile broadband when 4G or 3G data are available. Some can even become Wi-Fi hotspots so that the computer can use it.

Mobile broadband devices: They are also known for Mi-Fi and packet Wi-Fi. They are small and portable, like dongles. Differently, they do it via sending Wi-Fi signals, which allows users to connect multiple devices at the same time. But, users need to keep the battery charged.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots: There are many free public Wi-Fi networks available for users.

Mobile broadband router: A mobile broadband router is a dongle used for temporary broadband.

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • Easy to use: Users can use the dongles after plugging it into the computer’s USB port.
  • Portable: Dongles are usually tiny in size and easy to carry even in a bag.
  • Convenient: Since dongles are free to carry, it allows users to access the Internet whenever and wherever they are. And it’s powered by computer, so there’s no need to charge it separately.


  • Limited by 4G signals: Its portability is limited to locations where 4G signals can be obtained.
  • Limited in speed: Its speed in downloading and uploading aspects is limited.
  • Higher price: It charges a high price compared to fixed-line broadband.
  • A dongle can only connect one device at a time: Although there are one or more ports in a dongle, it can only connect to a device at a time.
  • There must be a USB port on the target device: Because of this feature, you can only connect your dongle to a laptop. The dongle cannot work with devices like tablet, mobile or e-book reader.


Nowadays, dongles are everywhere in daily life, playing an indispensable role. Understanding the dongle can help you better choose and use it.

This article introduces dongle in detail, including its definition, types, alternatives, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. We hope this post will be helpful to you.

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