Chris asked: “I have a laptop that I’m using on a metal style tanker desk. The laptop seems to get poor internet connectivity on that desk. I’m curious if it’s because the wifi card is on the bottom of the laptop and somehow the desk is blocking the wifi signal. I have tried a range extender from the router. Seems to be the same problem. I’m beginning to think the problem is the laptop on that desk. I lift the laptop off the desk about 5 inches and get faster speeds. Are there any workarounds for this? Is there a way to upgrade my laptop’s wifi? I thought about running an Internet cable to it, but that’s one more wire that I’m not excited about.”
Chris, metal desks and metal in general can definitely block WiFi signals. Is your desk somewhere between your router and your laptop? For example, is your router on a lower floor? If so, moving your router may help with the issue.
We can’t tell you where your wireless card is, it varies computer to computer. Of course, since pretty much all components on a laptop live under the keyboard, your wireless card is almost certainly down there with the rest of them.
However, it’s common for the card to be connected to antennas built around the screen to help improve signal reception, so the location of the card itself may not be the only factor.
Wherever the card happens to be, there isn’t much you can do to upgrade it internally, but you can buy a USB antenna, and plug it into an available USB port. USB antennas are usually larger and they effectively replace the internal network card and act as a second one. They usually have much better reception than internal WiFi cards. You can find USB antennas for as little as $25 online.
Since you mentioned that lifting the laptop helps, another solution may be to buy a laptop stand. There are very inexpensive models, and they just act as a taller base for your laptop to sit on, which would separate it from the metal desk.
The downside of these is that you may need to buy an external mouse and keyboard to be able to keep using your laptop comfortably since the built-in ones will obviously be a good five inches off the desk along with the rest of the computer.
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