Wireless networking conforms to universal standards - 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n.
802.11b runs at a speed of 11Mbps (Megabits per second) and is more or less obsolete now. 802.11g is the most commonly used protocol running at 54Mbps and the latest protocol is 802.11n with nominal speeds of around 300Mbps.
>>> If I get one, will I be able to sit in a
>>> Starbucks or similar outlet anywhere in the
>>> world and log onto my email account?
Netbooks run either a version of Linux or Windows XP but, if you want to use word processing and spreadsheets, Linux isn't going to run Microsoft Office. You will have to use something like Open Office, which is free but IMHO not nearly as nice to use as MS Office, although it is compatible with MS Office file formats.