To connect a laptop to a cellular WAN, you install an adapter that is designed to work with cellular networks. Cellular WAN cards, as shown in Figure 1, are plug-and-play (PnP). The card plugs in to the PC card slot or is built-in to the laptop. You can also access a cellular WAN with a USB adapter, or by using a mobile hotspot, as shown in Figure 2. The mobile hotspot can be connected to the laptop using Wi-Fi technology. Some cell phones offer mobile hotspot functionality.

Laptops with integrated cellular WAN capabilities require no software installation and no additional antenna or accessories. When you turn on the laptop, the integrated WAN capabilities are ready to use. If the connection is not active, look for a switch on the front face or on the side of the laptop to enable the connection by following these steps:

Step 1. Before installing and configuring the device, make sure that cellular WAN is enabled in the BIOS.

Step 2. Install the manufacturer’s broadband card utility software.

Step 3. Use the utility software to manage the network connection.

The cellular WAN utility software is usually located in the taskbar or in Start > Programs.