How to Connect a USB Modem to a Wireless Router

Use a cellular connection to get your router online

What to Know

  • Plug your USB modem into the USB port on your router.
  • Access the router's admin settings and make sure that your USB modem is selected.
  • Not all routers support USB modems, so make sure yours does before buying either.

This guide will explain how to connect a USB modem to a wireless router.

Can I Connect USB to Router?

Most routers come with a USB port, but not all routers support USB modem functionality, so make sure yours does before trying to use a USB modem to get online with your wireless router.

  1. Set up your USB modem: You may need to add a SIM card or activate the dongle by plugging it into your PC or laptop. It will depend on the service provider and model of the USB modem, so consult your manufacturer's website or the manual if you need specific help for your model.

    A USB Modem plugging into a laptop USB port.


    When you believe the USB dongle is set up correctly, attempt to connect to the internet on the connected device. If it works, move on to Step 2. Otherwise, you'll need to do some network troubleshooting.

  2. Connect the USB Modem: Plug the USB modem into the USB port on your wireless router.

  3. Login to the router: Connect your PC, laptop, or mobile device to the router's wireless network and login to the admin section of your router using the password you selected during setup. Alternatively, use the default login credentials supplied with the router. Check the manufacturer's website or the router's manual if you can't find it.

    Admin login screen on a TP-Link router.

    If you are still using the default password on your router, consider changing it now. Changing your router's password is a crucial step in securing your Wi-Fi network from hackers and malware.

  4. Set your router to 3G/4G mode: In your router's setup settings, change the preferred internet access settings to 3G/4G Preferred or 3G/4G Only, depending on your particular situation. The specific wording and location will depend on your router's make and model, so consult the manufacturer's website or the router manual for detailed instructions.

Can You Connect a Modem to a Router Wirelessly?

As far as USB modems go, no, you cannot connect a USB modem to a router wirelessly. Most lack the functionality to connect to another router wirelessly and a battery for wireless power.

  • How do I connect a USB external hard drive to a wireless modem router?

    To connect your USB external hard drive to your router, you'll need to make sure your router has USB ports. Plug the hard drive into a wall outlet and connect it to the router. Alternatively, you can plug the hard drive into a power supply and connect the hard drive and router with an Ethernet cable.

  • How do I connect a USB modem to a tablet?

    To connect your USB modem to an Android tablet and extend your tablet's functionality, install an application like PPP Widget 3 from the Google Play Store so the Android tablet will recognize the modem. Next, use a USB OTG cable to connect the modem to the Android's MicroUSB port. Launch the application and follow the prompts.

  • How do I connect an external antenna to a USB modem?

    You'll need the modem, antenna, and an antenna adapter. Connect the adapter to the external antenna and plug the antenna into the USB modem. Make sure everything is connected correctly.

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