Wireless Laptop PC Guide

August 18th, 2006 | Wireless, Laptops

Wireless laptops are the standard more than the exception nowadays when getting any kind of laptop pc. But just as all laptop pcs are not created equal, so there are definite things you need to watch out for when getting a laptop pc that is designed as a wireless laptop.

Is wireless included as standard?

There are still a few laptop pcs that do not have wireless capability built in. Make sure that it is there before looking any further. There is a chance that you don’t really need a wireless laptop and perhaps any old laptop pc will do if you are just working on documents locally.

Built in or added on?

If a laptop is older, perhaps refurbished or just an older model there is a good chance that the wireless capabilities have been added via a pc card. The reception is often as good as the built in kind and can be a good option. The downsides are that it takes up a pc card slot on the computer. There are usually a maximum of two of these slots on a laptop computer and are the only way to add on expansion devices. The other issue is that of the aerial. With a built in model the aerial is integrated into the case of the laptop pc, allowing a very long aerial built into the layout of the casing.

Does it have good reception?

The strength of the signal at wireless hotspots can vary greatly, but it is made that much worse when your computer has a hard time picking up that signal. Checking that the particular brand of computer you have can pick up very weak signals, or that the wireless card can, will make using the internet that much easier and make it that much more accessible.

Can it be turned on and off?

Laptop pcs are at the mercy of their batteries. If there is no power point then the battery is the only source of power. If you use the computer for extended periods of time away from a power point then the battery life becomes that much more important. Wireless cards are constantly scanning and sending information to keep up the connection. This drains a lot of power and you can get up to twice the battery life with the wireless turned off. A physical button is the best and most convenient as long as it is not easily bumped by mistake, otherwise it can always be turned off by the software.

Is it fast enough?

Two speeds are currently in use, 54Mbps or 108Mbps. If you connect to the internet then the speed of the internet will definitely be slower than your connection to the network, so there is very little worry there.

Choosing a wireless laptop doesn’t need to be painful and the best way to get the laptop pc that suits your needs best is to make sure that you have a test run with that particular wireless laptop or get honest and detailed opinions about the laptop pc you intend to by from the Internet or friends.

2 Responses to “Wireless Laptop PC Guide”

  1. jane Says:

    what kind of laptop / notebook computer is good for chat online, play games and write a travelogue about my journeys along the way? i want to ensure my computer is kept safe at all times throughout my travels. I want to have peace of mind that my work will remain secure and anything goes wrong with the computer, i will be able to get it fixed.

  2. Peter Says:

    Make sure you have a firewall to protect you from online intruders and only connect to secure internet hotspots, that use encryption.

    For the security of the computer itself…

    1. Install a secure Operating system like Windows 2000, XP or Vista. You can setup passwords. Disable the guest account.
    2. Engrave your details on the back, so it will get returned to you if you lose it or it gets stolen
    3. Most laptops have a USS (Universal Security Slot) so you can connect a cable lock or laptop alarm to your laptop. Will stop most casual thieves.
    4. Disable infrared ports. Same for bluetooth if you don’t need it.
    5. External storage like a secure USB flash drive can be kept hidden and safer than you big old laptop, gives you a backup as well.

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