A wireless notebook computer is simply a computer that is equipped with a type of network card so that it can connect to a wireless network. Most modern notebook computers come equipped with a wireless card already on board internally. Those that do not have a card can often be retrofitted with one so that connectivity can still take place once software is installed so that the card can interface with the computer.
The wireless notebook computer has become popular in recent years simply because of the mobile computing capability that comes along with them. In the past, it was difficult to be very mobile even with laptops due to the fact that connectivity to the Internet was still very much fixed to certain locations. Often, these locations involved wires. The advent of wireless networks changed all that.
In order to get on a wireless network, most wireless notebooks use a wireless card capable of receiving and sending what are known as WiFi signals. These signals are regulated and standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in what is know as section 802 of their uniform code. Thus, any WiFi product is likely to be referred to as 802. More specifically, WiFi uses 802.11. Anyone buying a wireless notebook computer will also notice a letter behind the number, likely to be a (b), (g), or (n).
For those who are simply using the wireless notebook to connect to the internet, these letters will likely not mean much. However, they do represent different generations of the technology, with subsequent letters being newer technologies capable of going at faster speeds. Still, for those who have a wireless notebook computer capable of sending and receiving in the 802.11(b) standard, any router that is meant for later generations is usually backward compatible to the standard required by the computer.
Most models of portable computer will have the capability of turning on and off a wireless signal when it is needed. This can help conserve energy when operating from battery power. Also, for those who are concerned about other people accessing their machine through a wireless network, this is a good way to ensure that does not happen. The computer may have a manual switch that can be turned to cut off the signal, may use software to cut the signal off, or may offer both options.
For those who require wireless connectivity as a priority but do not really need a fast machine, the wireless notebook computer offers an advantage. Nearly all notebooks take advantage of the same technology, which is available for a relatively cheap price. This is one reason why it has become a standard for all notebook computers.