graeme_p - 7:41 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
Hi WacoJohn, welcome to Webmaster World.
You are mistaken about that regarding current versions of Ubuntu for most Wifi chipsets. I think it used to be the case that you needed to install Wi-Fi drivers, butt not any more.
Drivers are part of the default install and wifi even works off the liveCD or USB storage, as does mobile broadband.
I installed Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric in my netbook using wi-fi with no problems - I do not think my netbook has ever been connected to ethernet.
I have used Mandriva and Mint in the past and they did much the same in recent versions.
It is true that it is safer to have a wired connection available because it always works, whereas you might have a driver issue with wi-fi, USB modems etc.