Alphabet soup of Wi-Fi choices: "With three types of Wi-Fi '802.11' technology to choose from for wireless Internet access, and more on the way, which one is best for a new laptop?
"First there was 802.11b, the clunky technical name for the wireless technology which made Wi-Fi a must-have for laptops.
"Then came versions 802.11g and 802.11a. Letter 'n' is coming. And back in the lab, the Wi-Fi wizards are working on 'e,' 'r,' 's' and 't.'"
"The next generations of the Wi-Fi standard, starting with 802.11n, may not hit the market until after 2006."
"Most DSL and cable broadband connections aren't as fast as the slowest version of 802.11, so few users can take full advantage of Wi-Fi's speed.
"But DSL and cable broadband providers are starting to boost the bandwidth they offer with little or no price increase, and some local phone companies are installing fiber-optic cables that will deliver lightning-fast connections in the same $35-to-$40 price range.
"'You're starting to see broadband speeds that exceed what 802.11b can deliver, so there is some utility for what 802.11g can deliver, especially if you'll have the machine for five years,' said Fleishman."