New ThinkPad Supports 802.11b and 802.11a

In addition to new notebooks, IBM this week will unveil new versions of TrackPoint.

IBM this week will introduce a line of ThinkPad notebooks with new wireless and mouse options.

The ThinkPad R40 comes in several versions, including the first IBM notebook to integrate both 802.11b and 802.11a wireless LAN technologies.

802.11b, which is widely adopted, offers connection speeds of up to 11M bps. 802.11a, which runs in a separate frequency band, offers speeds of up to 54M bps. There are also b-only models of the R40, as well as models that can be upgraded to support wireless technology later.

Certain models also include IBMs Embedded Security Subsystem (ESS) and the IEEE 802.1x authentication protocol.

The R40 features an antenna built into the display cover for optimal WLAN signal reception, as well as a utility manager that lets the notebook sense both wired and wireless LAN connections and switch between them based on speed and availability.

The ThinkPad R40 is available immediately. Pricing ranges from $979 to $1,499, depending on the processor, screen size, wireless support and other configuration choices.

IBM this week also is introducing new versions of the TrackPoint, the little cursor controller that sits in the middle of the keyboard in lieu of a mouse. There are two slightly larger flat versions with tiny traction bumps, in addition to the traditional little round one.