My niece got a Toshiba laptop for xmas. The range on the wireless LAN seems terrible compared to others including her moms sitting right next to her at times. I noticed on the bottom there is a plate you can take off and remove the integrated wireless adaptor. She is in college now and would like it to work better. Does anyone know of a better adaptor I can put in for better range?
If your Toshiba has a PC card slot, there are many wireless adapters which will extend your range..LinkSys, Netgear, Belkin, Hawking.. Anywhere from $35.00 up. I wouldn't try to improve the mini-PCI setup. It's buried down inside the computer. Luck
What card is in there now? Make sure the antenna wires are properly attached to it. Be careful as the wires and connectors are rather delicate. They just pop on/off with a slight snap. It's possible to use any other mini-PCI card in that slot. Just make sure whatever other card you use has the same connectors on it. Most mini-PCI setups use u.FL (aka Hirose) connectors. Some have a newer style (whose name escapes me at the moment). Start by looking to see what card's in there now and post that model number.
Otherwise you could add a regular PCMCIA card to the slot. Then either disable or remove the existing mini-PCI card. The downside to this is the PCMCIA cards tend to stick out the side of the case. This makes the laptop too big for the carrying bag. Some bags have more room than others so check first. You don't want to get into a situation where you're constantly removing and reinserting the card. Mainly because it's tedious, but there's also the issues of losing the card or wrecking the slot.
Your other alternative is to use a USB wifi device. These just plug into the USB slot. Same hassles though as they stick out to much to fit in the bag and/or tend to get lost/broken.
There's no way to easily improve the antenna that's built-into the case. It'd require near total disassembly of the laptop just to get it out. Then what to put in it's place? There aren't any aftermarket replacements that work any better, at least not that I've found. If you're brave and feel like hacking up the case you could put in an external connector that'd let you use an external antenna. But that's more than most normal people would be prepared to perform.