Most laptops are sorely lacking in wireless internet performance when it comes to distance. That’s because their Wi-Fi card and antenna are buried in among all the other circuitry and signals can’t get in or out due to the Faraday cage effect. Also, the power output of factor wireless adapters is low. To get maximum range you need to add a Wi-Fi booster antenna on your laptop’s wireless card. This can be difficult to do to an existing adapter. It is much easier to use an external USB based high power WiFi adapter which has an RP-SMA connector, and to which you can add an external antenna for maximum laptop Wi-Fi range.
Such external USB type Wi-Fi antenna – adapter combo units run anywhere from fifteen to sixty dollars. The one I tested recently, the GSKY 500 mW with mini panel antenna, cost only about twenty dollars. In my field test I drove around my community and stopped in various places, placing the GSKY on the roof of the vehicle or on the dashboard. I was able to find literally dozens of open WiFi networks to which I could connect for free. In my area almost every McDonald’s restaurant has free WiFi and you only need to park a block or so away to get a good signal with this powerful device. See the Review \
Below is a photo of the laptop Wi-Fi booster panel antenna and high power wireless adapter from GSKY that I reviewed. It is attached to my laptop with Velcro.
The reception you get from these laptop wireless antenna – adapter combo units is amazing. In a recent field test I was able to pick up the city of Austin’s free WiFi network from well over a mile away. Some people add external directional antennas outside of their homes to pick up Wi-Fi at very long distances.
So, how easy are these to use? Not hard at all. All one has to do is install the Realtek driver, plug in the USB cord and scan the area for open wireless networks using the movable directional panel antenna.
So, when it comes boosting your laptop’s Wi-Fi reception almost anyone can use one of these devices with no modifications. There is no need to try and add an external antenna to your internal WiFi adapter and risk voiding your laptop’s warranty.