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Illustration: Randy Lyhus
Your hotel offers Wi-Fi in the lobby, but you're on the eighth floor; though the view is great, the wireless signal is pathetic. Starbucks is down the block, but it's closing soon--do you really want to buy a latte just to check e-mail and update your blog?

We thought not. Fortunately, fast, so-called third-generation (3G) wireless data services--paced by Verizon Wireless's EvDO BroadbandAccess service--have moved out of the testing phase and into the mainstream, to the point where today broadband wireless can just about work as your primary means of accessing the Internet when you're on the road. Some kinks still need to be worked out, and you might not be able to use these services as freely as their wired counterparts; but by and large, our informal survey found that wireless broadband wide-area networks (WANs) are ready for prime time.

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