If you are the hotspot provider, signal strength can be increased in numerous ways: increasing the transmit power of your AP(s), relocating AP(s) to provide better coverage of the intended area, adding a high-gain directional antenna to better focus each AP's radiated power (benefit depends on shape of intended area), or adding more APs to provide higher-density coverage. Because hotspot providers need to accommodate as many different clients as possible, other options like using G-only mode or pre-N products are not really helpful here.
If you are the hotspot user, there's nothing you can do to change the hotspot's output. But there are a few things you can do to improve your own client's reception. The easy first step is always to relocate -- use your Wi-Fi adapter's signal strength meter to determine where coverage is better, avoiding obvious RF obstacles like fountains and heavy stone columns that tend to create "dead spots." The next easy step is to change the way that you use your client -- for example, turn your laptop 90 degrees and clear the space around your Wi-Fi adapter (including the portion that's actually inside your laptop). If you consistently encounter poor signal strength at every hotspot, consider buying another Wi-Fi adapter with better transmit power and receive sensitivity. Some hardware comparisons can be found on the Seattle Wireless.net Web site.
Dig Deeper on Wireless LAN (WLAN)
Related Q&A from Lisa Phifer
Licensed and unlicensed frequency bands serve different purposes for wireless communications. Find out the differences between the two bands and the ... Continue Reading
As the remote workforce increases, network managers and users might opt to set up two concurrent VPN connections from the same remote device. But ... Continue Reading
Is there a difference between a wireless access point vs. a router? Yes -- while the two wireless devices are related, they meet different needs in a... Continue Reading