If your laptop WiFi is lacking or simply needs better wireless distance then there are many products to wade through.
To keep it all simple we will break down the basics and show our picks for WiFi boosters.
To improve your laptop WiFi signal there are two options to choose from.
1… A wireless booster
2… A long-range USB wireless adapter
A wireless booster will improve the signal through an entire area. For example a home that has dead zones or weak signal spots can be improved for all wireless devices with a booster.
Long-Range USB Wireless Adapter
A wireless USB adapter will improve the signal for a laptop but not for any other device. The wireless adapter plugs in to USB port and they come in a variety packages and antenna sizes to increase the range of WiFi signal.
Here are examples of both types.
Our Picks for The Top Laptop WiFi Signal Boosters and USB Range Extenders
NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, Essentials Edition (EX2700)
TP-Link AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 500Mbps (TL-PA4010KIT)
TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA850RE)
Our Picks for Long Range WiFi USB Adapters
Alfa Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter w/2x 5dBi External Antennas – 2.4GHz 300Mbps / 5Ghz 867Mbps – 802.11ac & A, B, G, N
Netis WF2116 Wireless N300 Long-Range USB Adapter, Supports Windows, Mac OS, Linux, 5dBi High Gain Antennas, Free USB Cradle
Alfa AWUS036NH 2000mW 2W 802.11g/n High Gain USB Wireless G / N Long-Range WiFi Network Adapter with 5dBi Screw-On Swivel Rubber Antenna and 7dBi Panel Antenna and Suction cup / Clip Window Mount
When buying a booster or USB wireless adapter always check the 802.11 protocol it is compatible with. The most common is 802.11g and 802.11n otherwise known as wireless G a wireless N. A new protocol introduced in 2014 called 802.11ac transfers data much faster but only works in the new 5 GHz band.
Any older router only works in the 2.4 GHz range. To use the new 802.11ac protocol a dual band wireless router will have to be used.
For most homes the most common 802.11 protocol is wireless N which works in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz range. It can transfer data at the 300 Mbps that has plenty of speed for most homes.
Another thing to keep in mind is the dBi size of the antennas that are used. Some antennas are hidden from sight while some stickup an obvious manner.
The higher the dBi of an antenna the better range it will have. For example a 9 dBi antenna will have better distance then a 5 dBi antenna.