Term: dongle

Dongle is a generic term for a typically small device that attaches to your computer to provide some sort of functionality, sometimes specific to an application.

USB Dongle
Examples of dongles include:

  • Copy-protection devices that must be attached for an application to work
  • Mobile broadband “modems”
  • External network adapters, wired or wireless
  • Flash drives

Most dongles are USB devices these days, but the term doesn’t actually imply a type of connector. Historically, communications ports, printer ports, and other types of external ports on a computer have all been used.

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