I am looking for a device that runs Linux, has GSM connectivity (given a sim card) and has a USB port. I would like to turn a standard printer into a cloud printer by connecting it via USB to a device that is running a print job agent that would fetch print jobs from the cloud via its own GSM connectivity and send it to the printer.

The simplest thing I have found would be a Raspberry Pi with a GSM module. During my search, I saw some 3G modem dongles and I was really hoping that there could be some sort of device in the same form factor that ran Linux and could connect to the USB device that it was plugged into. The ability to power itself off of the USB power would be massive a bonus too.

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    I’m not quite sure I fully understand your question. What’s wrong with a Raspberry Pi with a cellular modem? Remember that USB is asymmetric: there are hosts (like your computer or the Pi), and there are peripherals (like the printer, most probably, the 3G dongle you mention, and so on). Some devices can switch from one role to the other (USB OTG) or have both types of ports, but a printer for instance will usually need to be a peripheral to accept printing jobs, which means you need a host, and a host cannot be powered by the bus, it’s the other way around.
    – jcaron
    Jan 26 '20 at 13:43
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    @jcaron Thank you so much for your response! You have answered my question in part by explaining that a host cannot be powered by the peripheral. There is nothing wrong with the Raspberry PI solution, I am just wanting to find out if there are any smaller form factor and/or lower powered and/or prebuilt units that I could use instead. Please post your thoughts with the above details about the power issue as an answer and I will happily accept it 👍 Jan 27 '20 at 7:50
  • @jcaron, there is no device on the market with USB OTG. Don't mix it with dual role support.
    – 0andriy
    Feb 5 '20 at 16:01
  • Any Android smartphone?
    – 0andriy
    Feb 5 '20 at 16:02

Orange pi has some boards that might be what you're looking for. Look for their "IoT" models; some have 2g, 3g or 4g modules built in.


The Onion Omega2 has its Linux in flash, rather than on an SD card.

You can also get versions with flash which your code can read/write (up to 8gB, IIRC).

Plus, out of the box it powers up as an access point, so that you can WiFi connect to it, which I find far easier than a headless setup on the Pi.

All that you need now is its GSM shield and you are set. Btw, they will send you a Hologram IoT SIM Card which is quite inexpensive.

It has an active forum, with good support, plus a free book of projects, and some good shields, including an ADC shield which has you three Grove connectors for about 300 sensors, motors, etc with Plug & Play connectivity, if you are not given to soldering.

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