How Can I Boost a Free Wireless Signal?

If you are in a town or city, wireless signals are available in a multitude of locations. From coffee shops, airports, libraries and restaurants, you can use free wireless signals to access emails, webpages and social networking sites from your laptop. The convenience of such available networks diminishes when the signal is weak. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can boost a free wireless signal.

Things You'll Need

  • USB wireless adapter


    • 1

      Move closer to the source of the wireless signal. As with any signal, the farther away you are from a source, the weaker the signal will get. Moving your computer closer to the router that is transmitting the signal will help significantly. If you don't know where a wireless router is located in the place you are in, ask someone who is working there--which you can easily do in a coffee shop or library--or simply move your laptop yourself and take note which direction the signals grows.

    • 2

      Increase the power that your wireless card uses. The power that your wireless card consumes is in direct relation to the battery usage of your laptop. To increase your wireless card to full power usage, click "Start," click "Control Panel," click "Classic View" in the left pane and double-click "Device Manager." Under the list of devices that populate the screen, choose your laptop's wireless card. Under the "Advanced" tab, set the transmitting power to the highest available setting or one that strikes a good balance between wireless card power and battery power.

    • 3

      Plug an external USB wireless adapter into a USB slot on your laptop. These adapters are available from any electronics store and in many different transmitting powers. Choose a wireless adapter with "N" speed, as it is considered faster than the "G" speed models. The USB adapter has small external antennas that can help boost signals, especially if the USB model is faster than the internal adapter you have installed.

    • 4

      Update your wireless network card's drivers. The manufacturers of wireless network cards will, on occasion, release newer versions and updates of their software that will cause the wireless signal to be more efficient, and therefore boost incoming signals.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes other signals can interfere with wireless signals. Move your cell phone away from your computer and avoid sitting near microwaves with your laptop.
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  • Photo Credit Hand on Mouse - Using the Computer image by evillager from

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