I need to get one of those USB devices,sold from cell phone providers (not sure what they are called) that plug into a laptop's USB port and give you internet access. Anybody know which ones are good or reliable?
I call them USB 3G Mobile Broadband Modems and I'll recommend against buying the Novatel MC950D. I've used two of them, one from my service provider and an unlocked one from Ebay and both failed within months.
I've had better luck with the ZTE MF636 which my ISP switched to, probably after realizing what a POS the MC950D is. My biggest complaint about the MF636 is the rounded corners of the housing which causes it to slide like a turd out of your pocket. I lost my first one this way.
I noticed that my ISP recently switched to Nokia for their 3G "Rocketstick" USB modems, but I don't know which model. Most Nokia products are pretty dependable though.
No 3G modem will work without a USIM card and an active account from an ISP and most ISPs will provide a 3G modem locked to their own system, often for free if you sign a service contract for a year or two. This is probably what most people use.
You can also get unlocked 3G modems from Ebay that will take your USIM and log onto any 3G networks. This seems perfect for international travellers.
Another option is an all-in-one portable battery-powered combination 3G modem and wifi hotspot like the Novatel Mifi:http://www.novatelwireless.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=12
This not only allows multiple laptops to connect on a single USIM but it means no clumsy and fragile USB dongles to snap off or get in the way. I hate dongles. You can switch on the Mifi, leave it in your shit pocket and connect wirelessly and dongle-free.
Of course you can always try to mod your book with an internal miniPCIe 3G modem like the Sierra MC8780 or Huawei EM660 if there's an open miniPCIe slot. Even if there isn't, they use USB not PCIe so with minimal soldering you can connect it to any free internal USB port or commandeer one from an unused device such as a webcam. You could even tap into the 5v power bus and ground and add a small 4-port internal USB hub and not lose any internal devices. There's lots of information about this kind of stuff in laptop/netbook forums like Eeeuser or Jkkmobile.http://forum.eeeuser.com/http://www.jkkmobile.com/2007/12/how-to ... -asus.html
The biggest problem is usually the USIM reader and antenna.