Of course, Centrino technology is optimized for use with mobile computers. And it is built for wireless networking from the ground up a great advantage over previous generations of mobile computers. There are no extra cards sticking out and no dangling antennas. Centrino-based laptops are sleek the antennas are built right in. Bottom line, there is less stuff to carry around, wireless reception is great, your laptop is easier to use, and the battery lasts for hours.
Alternative Wi-Fi Solutions
If you use a mobile computer that does not incorporate Centrino technology, chances are it was not built from the ground up with Wi-Fi capabilities. This isn t the end of the world, but it means that a Wi-Fi "card" needs to be added to the mobile computer. The card might have been added at the factory, but if not, you ll need to configure it correctly. In either case, one of the expansion slots of your computer will be used. (So you can t use it for anything else.) In addition, the card might stick out of the side of the mobile computer, if it doesn t use an internal card, making its form factor more awkward. Figure 1.2 shows a notebook computer with an external Wi-Fi card seated in the expansion slot.
Figure 1.2. On other mobile computers, to use wireless networking you have to add a Wi-Fi card in an expansion slot.
Although Centrino mobile computers are not the only ones to have internal, built-in Wi-Fi radios (rather than using an external PC-Card slot), they have the most tightly integrated processor and chipset architectures for enhanced performance and longer battery life.
Most important of all, by choosing a Centrino laptop, you can be sure that you have a system designed from the ground up for anywhere mobile computing - one that has been extensively validated by Intel with hardware vendors of network access points and with hotspots around the world.
Mobile Computers Compared to Desktop Computers
Of course, you can connect desktop computers to wireless networks using Wi-Fi. This is usually done by adding a card to the desktop computer or by using an external Wi-Fi device connected to the computer using its USB connector. Either way, your desktop computers can now participate in the wonderful world of wireless, and you can say goodbye to drilling holes in your walls for network wires. (See Part IV, "Your Own Wireless Network," for complete information about creating your own wireless network.)
However, by definition, a desktop computer is not a mobile computer. Centrino technology is designed for low power systems and enhanced battery life, and generally to improve performance on the go. Desktop computers don't need these features.