I think I'd like to improve reception for my laptop's WiFi. But I'm not sure I want to wire inside the laptop. And the problem is indoors, through maybe a wall or two and maybe a floor to a public access point, so line-of-sight cures won't help.
Sometimes, I have a reception problem that's solved by standing up and waving my laptop in the air. What takes 15 minutes with normal reception takes about an hour this way, and I can't type on a tower while holding my laptop like it's a bird feeder. I assume antennas usually have to be vertical and assume the laptop has an internal antenna (which I'd be supplementing), and that the internal antenna works best for reception if the laptop's body is parallel to Earth (so to speak) and/or if the LCD lid is perpendicular, i.e., vertical, with the actual location of the antenna probably depending on the laptop's brand and model.
KWiFi Manager (Linux) software reports low signal strength and low connection speed (1-2 Mb/s) in some places.
Are they not worth the money? There seem to be very few on sale, which makes me suspicious. I'm not desperate, which means I'm price-sensitive, but I might rig up Asian cookware and duct tape, which has been discussed online (e.g., http://www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz
as accessed 9-7-08), if I think it'll work reasonably, but it tends to look like it's for outdoors only. Your opinion?