802.11b has been obsolete for some time now, the .g equipment
simply has much more range for the same price
. Similarly, the new stuff deploying is going to be about the same price
that .g deployed at, but again, way more range/speed. What's "way more"...<G>. Depends.
The .n may have 10x the speed and twice the range, which is a good plus for dropping $75 on a new router.
WiMax or Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) may have speeds somewhere in between the two--but cover an area from 5-30 miles in diameter. So, if a coastal town decides to install one to replace the local free internet
access, or to attract tourist trade
? You could conceivably have wireless access from your boat, anywhere along ten miles of coast. Think of coming into Newport
RI harbor, and having high speed wireless anywhere in the harbor. That's something to look forward to, even if that's not going to happen as quickly as 802.11n does. And .n is probably going to simply replace the .g equipment this year, as the manufacturers simply stop making .g, the same way they stopped making 300 baud modems.
On encryption? Well, if your connection is fully encrypted, protected by any sort of key, it makes spoofing and hacking of anything on the network that much harder, even without a firewall. Pretty much every public access point which doesn't use encryption is being trolled by hackers using a sniffer in "verbose" mode to capture traffic.
They could, for example, capture your password and log in to web forums
like this one, pretending to be you and selling your boat. Not as bad as capturing your banking information or intercepting your email
...and in all your web connections are using https, that's doing encrypting anyway. But unless you are terribly careful about where you go and what you do on the web...there's no telling what mischief they will get into. And without a firewall (or even with one, if your browser allows any of the active script technologies) you may find ghoulies on your computer after using those access points.
It's only paranoia IF you have run malware detectors, plural, for six months and still never found a ghoulie.<G> The bad guys have just been doing a really really great job this year, and some of the protection software