The story of the moment is the explosive growth of wireless technology. Prices are plummeting on 802.11b technology and the equipment is being gobbled up for use in homes and small businesses. (Large companies are going more slowly because they have different concerns about security and management.)
Here’s a New York Times article about the wireless boom. A number of companies are trying to roll out wireless access in public places (Starbucks, airports, hotels). Some major players – AT&T, IBM, Intel – announced a startup company a few days ago that plans to roll out nationwide access using the same technology, similar to cell phone service. As the article points out, many of those ventures will fail – but that won’t stop the rollout of cheap wireless equipment into homes and small businesses, where it’s stable, standardized, and easy to set up.
It’s worth noting that Intel is planning to build wireless technology into every device with an Intel chip. We’ll see new laptops next spring with integrated wireless as well as more aggressive power and battery management. Don’t buy a laptop today without wireless technology!