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What wireless to choose?

I am buying a new laptop and am overwhelmed by the variety of wireless options.

In particular, IBM has the following choices for ''wireless'':
1) 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini-PCI Adapter II
2) Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG Mini PCI Adapter

Then for ''wireless connectivity'' they offer the following options:
1) Ericsson GC83 Edge PC Card
2) Sprint PCS Wireless WAN Card
3) ThinkPad 11a/b/g Wireless CardBus Adapter

I just need to choose one thing from one category, no?? Wouldn'y the Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG suffice (with nothing chosen in the 2nd category)??

I will be connecting to public wireless networks at cafes and in my grad school buildings, so I need something secure but not necessarily anything fancy. Any suggestions?

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Ask them which they sell the most of.

In reply to: What wireless to choose?

It is that simple. The one they sell the most of will have the beat up drivers (well revised) and just work.

After 4 years, I've yet to find a 802.11a network. People still fret about having "a" support but never run into that. Stick with b/g.


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Wireless for your laptop

In reply to: What wireless to choose?

You did not mention what kind of laptop you are considering. However, virtually all new laptops today have wireless built in. In all likelyhood, it will be b/g; but you can check the system's specs to be sure. This should provide you with the connectivity to the public networks you mentioned, without adding anything to your laptop.

With regard to your lists of devices; I presume you got this from a vendor's general catalog of wireless devices, and not as items listed as supplements or additions to your laptop.

PCI cards are strictly for desktops, and do not apply whatsoever to laptops. If you gor the Intel PCI adapter, there is no way you could plug it into your laptop -- it would become an expensive paperweight.

The Ericsson and Sprint devices are primarily for connecting to WANs (usually the Internet), from almost anywhere celluar phone connections are available, usually at a cost of about $60 to $80 per month.

The Thinkpad device does provide 802.11a connectivity if you do need it, which I doubt. Otherwise stick with the b/g capabilities built into your laptop.

You probably will want internet service and access to your school's system from home. I believe all laptops today do contain an analog modem, so all you need is a cable to plug it ito your phone line for dial-up access.

If you want higher speed, you will need a DSL or cable connection (typically about $20 to $60 per month, depending on speed), and an appropriate modem with Ethernet output. As most laptops have an Ethernet socket, the modem can be connected directly to your laptop via a CAT5 cable. If you want the advantage of working within a wide area of your home without being tethered by a cable, you will also want a wireless router.

Hope this information helps.


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