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I know that an iPad can connect to the cell phone network. I need to be able to get a desktop windows PC to connect to the cell phone network and connect as if it was a cell phone, but I don't know what hardware I need to use to do that.

The PC needs to transfer data but will be nowhere near an available LAN/phone line or other typical office fare, but it should be in range of cell phone networks.

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migrated from serverfault.com Dec 7 '10 at 20:15

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To rephrase: How do I send/receive telephone calls using a cellular modem connected to my computer? Or How do I connect my computer to private network using a cellular modem? –  Greg Buehler Dec 7 '10 at 18:41
    
The phrase "Cellular modem" is probably what I was looking for. I didn't know they existed or what they were called. –  John Robertson Dec 8 '10 at 21:23

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Major cell carriers in the United States (at least AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint) have dedicated USB cellular devices that can be purchased instead of a cell phone. The computer that has this device connected to it can access the internet through that device. The devices either come with software that needs to be installed, or will install their own software on first connection to the PC.

There are also a great many number of cell phones that are able to do this (which is commonly called "tethering").

Your comment using the term "private network" causes me to mention that if you wanted data to travel between this PC (that is connected via cellular modem) and a distant private network, you would use a VPN on the private network with a VPN client on the PC.

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