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Wireless Internet Laptop 
Published 2006/6/13
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The long battery lives of Pentium M wireless internet laptop models allow you the freedom to roam away from AC outlets. But it's the built-in Wi-Fi wireless feature often found in Pentium M laptops, including many that I review on this site, that gives you the power to connect to the Internet and send and receive e-mail from wherever you are, without wires. Hotspots are appearing everywhere, but if you're new to this scene, finding and using one can be intimidating. Here's a little help to get your wireless internet laptop going.

Wireless internet laptop networking has made the leap from dream to reality. Nearly every mobile device on the market features some kind of wireless connectivity--or at least support for it. Sorting through the available standards may seem tricky, but it isn't. Basically, there are two kinds of wireless connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11, is the older, more established wireless standard. It's also faster and has a longer range than Bluetooth. This extended range opens a vast range of possibilities. Many public areas can be outfitted with WiFi antennas to extend the wireless internet laptop operating range for use in public areas. Using WiFi for Internet access from your portable computer, you can go online and send email from airports, hotels, and coffee shops. Recently Starbucks added WiFi networking facilities in many of their cafes. This may be the fastest-growing segment of WiFi service, as more and more travelers and mobile professionals seek fast and secure Internet access wherever they are.

Looking for a hotspot for your wireless internet laptop? Finding a hotspot these days is easy. For starters, several very comprehensive directories exist online. JiWire is a searchable index of more than 39,000 Wi-Fi access points. Other directories include Wi-FiHotSpotList and WiFinder. All of these sites list commercial and regional community hotspots.

If you're looking to buy a new wireless internet laptop, go with the latest version of Wi-Fi, 802.11g, which transmits at up to 54Mbps and has a range of up to 300 feet. The speed and range of Wi-Fi make it ideal for home and office use, connecting web and e-mail users with no noticeable lag. While 802.11g is the current high-speed Wi-Fi standard, it is compatible with slower (11Mbps) 802.11b networks.


Wireless Internet Laptop Bluetooth Guide

Bluetooth is meant for short-range jobs, such as connecting a PDA to a cell phone or a cell phone to a laptop. It's great for syncing address books and small files between devices. Bluetooth isn't well suited for data networking because of its limited range and lower speeds, but it is useful for handheld and mobile phone accessories.

Wireless Internet laptop computers, Audio Systems, and Video Systems have lots of peripheral devices that connect by wires and cables. Did you ever look in back of your computer desk? It looks like a major tangle of wires. Each wire has a particular connector and each connector follows certain protocols. Bluetooth's aim is to get rid of those wires. Companies that manufacture computers, entertainment systems and other electronic devices have realized that the incredible array of cables and connectors involved in their products may confuse most consumers. Setting up computers and home-theater systems can be difficult when the person buying the equipment has to learn and remember all the details of what wire goes from where to where.

Bluetooth's main focus is to replace wire connectivity among various devices, developing a standard by which all components can communicate with one another, efficiently, using no wires to send signals. This standard is used to help refine wireless internet laptop communications.

Though Bluetooth can be found in connecting wireless keyboards and a wireless mouse to a PC, it's found on several handheld PDA organizers. Several manufacturers are beginning to make Bluetooth adapters for home and portable computers so, like WiFi, Bluetooth may be a formidable partner in wireless internet laptop networking too.

For serious networking, go Wi-Fi. At home or in the office, you can set up a good 802.11g network for less than $200 by connecting a wireless gateway to your DSL or cable Internet connection, and a Wi-Fi adapter to your computer.

Plenty of free public access points exist out there, but most hotspots require that you sign up with a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) and pay a fee. Here's a list of good commercial providers:

* Boingo Wireless, Inc.
* Surf and Sip
* Wayport
* T-Mobile HotSpot

These providers offer hundreds of locations across the U.S. Prices can vary, but on the average expect to pay about $5 for a day to around $20 for monthly access. Shop around and get your best pricing. Once you've signed up, you just need to find hotspots in your neighborhood using the hotspot site directories listed above and then fire-up that new wireless internet laptop.



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