"Older" might mean a laptop that only has a 16 bit PCMCIA slot, but that's probably too old. If the PCMCIA card doesn't fit in the slot, it's a 16 bit slot.
Fine. In that case, you need a PCMCIA wireless card with an external antenna connector. If it's too weak, just add an antenna.
The card has an external antenna connector, which might be handy. I have two of these and they work well enough. The range is nothing spectacular, but if you want PCMCIA, it's good enough. For more range, look into external antennas, or wireless devices with an integral directional antenna.
Yes, it matters. The T23 has an internal MiniPCI wireless card. Unfortunately, the stock card is usually a combination wireless and modem, or modem and ethernet. If you have no card installed, there's room for a MiniPCI card, and you have the internal antenna connectors, methinks you should consider this possibility. Don't get the stock card as it's 802.11b only and you get something that does 802.11b/g. I'm not sure what to recommend for a MiniPCI wireless card. I kinda like the Atheros based chipsets.
Internal antenna installation:
If not, the specs show that the PCMCIA connector can handle a Cardbus card, so just about anything will work.
Once you have a decent radio, the range is totally dependent on the antenna. In the case of the PCMCIA card, the side of the antenna is important. Bigger really is generally better.
There's a rubber plug at the end of the Buffalo card. Underneath is an "Orinoco" or "MC Card" connector. You buy a "pigtail" coax cable that adapts this connector to whatever external directional antenna you find useful.
"The notch on the left hand front of the device is slightly shallower on a CardBus device, so a 32-bit device cannot be plugged into a slot that can only accept 16-bit devices. Most new slots are compatible with both CardBus and the original 16-bit PC Card devices."
I've run into this problem with older laptops many times. I have a supply of old Orinoco (16bit) cards for these laptops. However, the T23 has a PC Card slot and will take both 16 and 32 bit.
I've had little luck with adjusting the position of relatively low gain antennas, such as those found on most wireless access points. With only 2dBi of gain, the pattern is almost hemispherical. Reflectors and external antennas work much better. So does repositioning the wireless router.
If she can still find one of these, this would be the best choice for a weak signal. However Buffalo cannot sell into the U.S. any more, so it'd have to be existing stock from a retailer. NewEgg still has some, "
I would suspect that is the Orinoco card, in one of its many incarnations. That is the best supported card by Linux, and one of the best radios in its day, but for some reason, never found a stable home. Orinoco, Proxim, Enterasys, Cabletron, Dell branded... I forget. Do a Google search on the FCC-ID, and you'll find several names for the same card.
The card is quite good without an external antenna, though.