You can probably purchase a Linksys Wireless Router (i.e. a WRT54G) for less than the $100.00 that AT&T is going to charge you for the 2WIRE home portal. In which case you can also get yourself a Linksys wireless-G USB adapter for your laptop and it will cost you about $29.99-$49.99 depending on where you purchase from. I usually tend to purchase from BestBuy because i have an account with no-interest financing.
You can find other brands that may be cheaper on the pocketbook if cost is a concern. D-Link equipment works well and is in the low-mid price range versus Linksys. Belkin is another good brand. Whichever brand you get, you should be able to get yourself a Wireless Router and a USB Wireless-G adapter for less than $100.00 that you would spend with AT&T on the 2WIRE residential gateway.
The good thing about going with a USB Wireless-G adapter is that you can easily swap it between different computers without having to open up the chassis and remove PCI cards.
However, if money is not necessarily a huge concern, the advantage of going with the 2WIRE home portal is that you would be using equipment that is consistent with your ISP and you would get the advantage of their technical support should anything go wrong with the equipment - they will just replace if they cannot talk you through the troubleshooting. You would still probably have to purchase a USB Wireless-G adapter for the laptop, which would work out to another $29.99-$49.99 on top of the $100.00 for the home portal. Another advantage is that if there are network problems, its easier to troubleshoot with less equipment. Adding a Wireless Router into the network topology means that there is one more device to manage and troubleshoot if there are network problems.
So do a cost benefit analysis based on your budget and how comfortable you would feel configuring and managing all the equipment involved in your home network. If you want to have the security of being able to contact AT&T at any time for support, i'd stick with their equipment and just add a USB adapter for your laptop. If you want to go cost effective, you can probably purchase all the equipment you need to make your wired LAN into a wireless LAN for less than what AT&T will charge for the 2WIRE (plus the additional cost of the USB Wireless-G adapter); this just means a little more complexity on your network, but if you are comfortable working with the devices, it will probably work out to be more cost-effective.
Edited by Cyb3r_Ninj@, 02 January 2008 - 05:50 PM.