How to Boost the Wireless Signal on a Laptop

By Gregory Hamel

A laptop computer with a wireless network adapter is a convenient way to stay connected to the Internet from any place inside or outside the home. One drawback of exclusively using wireless Internet, however, is that the signal your computer receives can fluctuate or be too weak to use the Internet efficiently. Here are several measures you can take to boost the wireless signal on a laptop computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Signal repeater/booster

Step 1

Use your laptop closer to your router or other wireless access point. Wireless signals are radio waves, and become weaker as they travel and pass through objects like walls and doors. By using your laptop closer to your router, you will limit any interference such distance might cause.

Step 2

Upgrade your network device drivers. Software can sometimes play a large role in how effectively a device operates. Make sure your network card is using the most up-to-date drivers possible.

Step 3

Increase the amount of power the network card is receiving. Sometimes a computer will limit the amount of power draw a network card can receive to save energy, which can reduce signal strength. Go to your computer's control panel and open the device manager, then locate your network card and click "properties." The "advanced" option will allow you to change various settings, including power transmission.

Step 4

Avoid ambient radio noise. The presence of other networks and radio signals coming from things like microwave ovens can interrupt wireless signals. If your neighbor has a wireless router in a certain spot, set yours up as far away from it as possible.

Step 5

Use a signal repeater or booster. Signal repeaters and boosters are additional devices that can be attached to a router in order to extend its range and increase signal strength. If other options fail to adequately increase your wireless signal, this may be the easiest solution.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all laptop network cards are created equal. Older laptops may have more difficulty maintaining strong signals; consider buying a new network card or getting a USB wireless adapter.