What are the good 3G/4G USB dongles for developers to experiment with?


Just finished a workshop and am highly interested in pursuing the hobby in my own time and want to know what are some of the devices, websites, resources you’d recommend newcomers to working with?


Hi there!

This is pretty broad question, but a good one!

Here are some of the resources I used when coming up to speed on IoT, hardware engineering, and programming:

  • Soracom’s developer portal (https://dev.soracom.io) has API documentation, hands-on tutorials, and an easy-to-use mechanism for testing Soracom’s APIs directly on their website.
  • Adafruit provides a wealth of knowledge on all topics related to IoT, hardware, and software. I am especially fond of learn.adafruit.com. I also purchase a lot of microcontrollers and sensors from their online store. You can check out their IoT video series for a deep dive on various IoT communications technologies and related topics.
  • Many of my IoT projects run on either Arduino micro-controllers or Raspberry Pi computers. For Arduino, I have found inspiration at the Arduino Playground. Most of my Raspberry Pi projects are coded in Python. For these, I tend to search for relevant examples using Google. You can find some interesting ideas here.
  • Hackaday and Hackster.io also tend to have a ton of interesting project ideas, many of which come with easy to follow sample code.

As for USB dongles, almost any dongle will work as you get started. For production applications, I have found the Huawei MS2131 USB dongle to be far more stable than others I have tried. Alexis Susset from Soracom has an easy-to-follow tutorial here.

For production workloads in more challenging environments, I have seen people use fanless Intel computers in a weatherproof enclosure as an IoT gateway, with WiFi, BlueTooth, or LoRa radios providing connectivity to multiple sensors and a PCI cellular modem providing the network uplink.

Happy to answer more specific questions as you begin to experiment more with the fun world of IoT!