I know zip about wireless so be gentle )
Situation: A desktop PC with I think a Lynksys router, running XP home has a wireless setup. Thats building 1. In bld.2 about 100yards away (at most), it appears that a laptop can sometimes pick up the single from bld 1. But it doesn't stay, its weak.
Can I boost the output from bld 1?
Can I make the laptop better equipted to pick up the connection? By software or hardware?
How do I check to see if that is the single that the laptop is picking up?
What info can I bring back here to make this an easier project for me and anyone helping?
You can try one of those access point things... not sure if they work. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's one that I just found. It's probably not the best deal out there, but just for an example: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
I'm not sure exactly how it works... if you have to stick an ethernet cable in it and it broadcasts it or it picks a signal from the air and sends it back out stronger.
Bring back this info: are you using wireless g or n or what? If you're using wireless g, you can upgrade to n if you can afford it. N has better speeds, range, everything.
If you are able to see the network with your laptop 300 feet away, you would definitely benefit from a range extending device. This type of problem is hardware related, and a software upgrade won't help you. One possible solution would be to get an external adapter for your laptop which will, in your words, "make the laptop better equipted to pick up the connection". I recommend the Wi-Fire from hfield.com. This would plug right into your USB drive and help you connect to WiFi networks from about three times as far as you can now with your internal adapter.
Wireless routers broadcast network SSIDs, or "names", with the connection. In building 1, by using either the desktop or laptop and attempting to connect to the network, you will see this name appear next to the signal you are trying to connect to in your Windows wireless utility. When in building 2, it will have the same name in the wireless utility. This is the network you want to connect to.