How do I view the wireless connection status from my laptop?

Link connection speed and tx/rx packets can be seen in Windows by navigating to Change Adapter settings from the Control Panel (under Network Connections) then clicking on the appropriate wireless adapter and selecting 'Status':

This displays the signal strenght of the connection (green icon above) as well as the current data-rate (585 Mbps above). Note that this only refers to teh 802.11 signalling speed used to transmit packets is unrelated to teh actual packet transmission rate.

On Apple Macbooks, detailed information about the connection is accessible by clicking the wireless icon in the top toolbar while holding down the Option Key on the keyboard. In addition to basic connection information, this also includes detailed statistics such as the channel, the signal strenght of the connection, the noise floor as well as the data-rates.

If you are using some other utility to configure the WiFi on your laptop it might have its own view of statistics as well (Eg: Intel ProSet for Intel cards includes its own software for configuraiton and status/statistics)