Any way to make wifi connection strong enough to connect to it?

So the manager of the apartment complex close to my rental place is a friend and he gave me the password to their apartment complex wifi. The problem is that the wifi connection is very weak inside my rental. I can occasionally see it on my laptop’s list of wifi connections but my laptop can’t connect to it. What’s the best way to boost the connection so that I’ll be able to reliably connect to it?

I tried google for an answer and there seem to be products for this – things called wifi amplifiers, wifi boosters, wifi repeaters, wifi extenders, and so forth. I am thoroughly confused at the end of that google search so decided to ask the knowledgeable folks here. Basically I want something that will make the neighboring apartment complex’s wifi signal strong enough for my laptop to see it so I can connect to it using the password my manager friend gave me. Thanks in advance!

Yes get a wifi booster.

I would plug it in to the outlet nearest the strongest signal in the house. Or if all the same then by the window facing your friends wifi.

Prices range from cheap to expensive. I guess try one that promise the best amplify.

Option 1:

Install a WiFi booster and connect a directional antenna to it to maximize the signal that it's able to "see".

Option 2:

Install a WiFi booster in your car and plug it into a cigarette lighter inverter. Park your car in whatever spot is best for boosting the signal to your residence.

Sounds like you need to get a wifi transceiver+ antenna out of your place to pick up the signal. We use the Ubnt NanoStation Loco M2 and their old small router. We regularly pull in stations over 2 miles away depending on our line of sight for the antenna. Of course if the station is overloaded. it will become sloow to unuseable. We've learnt to get up early when we want to get stuff done on the internet.
Here is a link on an excellent tutorial how to set one up .https://outsideourbubble.com/secure-private-rv-wi-fi-and-making-a-better-park-connection-for-under-100/

With apartments, be careful where you mount, may get stolen.

Pretty neat device and reasonable price, though.

peterquinn: "The problem is that the wifi connection is very weak inside my rental. I can occasionally see it on my laptop’s list of wifi connections but my laptop can’t connect to it.

Here's an idea that may be worth a try.

Take your smart phone and explore various nooks and crannies in your apartment for a spot that might give "connectability" to your target WiFi source. If you find such a spot, then turn your smart phone into a "router" for linkage to your laptop:

https://www.nthcircle.com/forum/general/1978-use-pdanet-to-turn-your-phone-into-a-travel-router#29363

Alternately, park your car midway between the source and your apartment (insert phone), and follow the above.

It's a long shot, but free and easy to try.

Thanks to all for your suggestions! Very helpful for a newb like me! About this solution below, can I just buy this thingie and that's it?
(https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-NanoStation-locoM2-2-4GHz-Outdoor/dp/B00DCNRTAG) Or will I need to buy an antenna to go with it? My landlord won't let me put a dish, so I don't think he'll allow an antenna.

Will try 99-Mobile's suggestion from https://www.nthcircle.com/forum/general/1978-use-pdanet-to-turn-your-phone-into-a-travel-router#29363 -- it's worth a try and wouldn't hurt! And if it works, wow!

Question about that though - Chelle wrote: "I put one of my phones in Airplane mode, connected to the hotel WiFi, navigated through the sign-in screen-- and then turned on PdaNet's WiFi direct hotspot capability." Do I go into Airplane mode first, and then look for the neighboring apt-complex's wifi? Confused about how I can do that. Also haven't used PdaNet before, so will have to start fresh. Thanks again folks, please keep the suggestions coming!

The NanoStation has internal antenna. You need to 'point' it at the WiFi station you're trying to pick up. First choice aimed through a window. Second choice through a wooden or metal-framed wall. Last choice would be through masonry, which is very good at blocking RF.
You may need to get a stand to mount the NanoStation unless you have a good place to perch it. See on the picture of the rear where is has a curved surface intended to mount to a pipe? (I'm assuming the landlord would not smile about fastening a mount to the wall.......) Something like a microphone stand might work, although that's a little smaller diameter than was probably intended......

Google play has free
wifi strength meter

Get that and walk around the house to see best spot

Go into Airplane mode(this turns off all connections) then manually turn on WiFi and connect to the desired Access Point/WiFi Router.

peterquinn: “Do I go into Airplane mode first, and then look for the neighboring apt-complex's wifi? Confused about how I can do that. Also haven't used PdaNet before, so will have to start fresh. “

No, you don't need to use Airplane mode or PdaNet+ at this point. Just use your smart phone normally and see if you can find a spot (in your apt. or car) that offers "connectability” to the target WiFi. IF you find such a spot, then proceed with the following:

a) Download PdaNet+ ( Download PdaNet+ ). The app is free for limited use and costs $7.99 for full life time usage.
b) Open the app and configure the WiFi section (called FoxFi) with your own password. Then close the app.
c) With your phone now in the “right” spot, turn on Airplane mode. Connect to the target WiFi and then open PdaNet+ and simply check the WiFi box (FoxFi)
d) Open WiFi connections on your laptop and choose FoxFi. Enter the password you created on the phone PdaNet+ app. And you're done.

It would be really nice if this all worked out for you.:slight_smile:

We frequently need to look at WiFi congestion for work projects. Most of us use the following program, which turns your phone WiFi into a pretty decent WiFi scanner and analyzer, and makes it easy to see signal strength variations. (Note that if your phone only has 2.4G WiFi access, you won't see 5G signals on the app.)
2 versions: the first is the updated version requiring location access.
The second is the 'classic' version not requiring location access.

Both versions are ad supported, but limited to banner ads when the app is in use.

And don't be discouraged if the FoxFi mode doesn't work with your phone. PdaNet also has the WiFi Direct mode, as an alternate to FoxFi mode, and it will work if FoxFi doesn't.

Okay so I walked around my apartment with my phone in hand and wifi on. Unfortunately, my phone saw that connection only once, in one far corner (in the bathroom actually), and for just one second. Then it was gone from the list of wifi connections. Says "not in range" when I go into "manage connections". Dang, I wish that had worked!

So now I suppose the PdaNet route is out. Which leaves the wifi booster thingy from Amazon. I'm wondering if the booster will work because the signal was strongest in the bathroom, while my balcony is the farthest point from that corner of the bathroom. Not sure if I should buy it. Thanks for the suggestions, it's great to have so many knowledgeable and helpful folks here!