If you're looking to extend the range and maximize the speed of your at-home wireless network, it could be as easy as switching out some hardware.
Your router and each wifi-connected device in your house uses some wireless standard to communicate. The most common standards today are 802.11g and 802.11n. Both can get the job done, but one does it faster and with a longer range.
The wireless N standard is newer, and a huge improvement over wireless G. Wireless N takes advantage of a bevy of technologies (multiple input, multiple output (MIMO), channel bonding and packet aggregation, if you're curious) to transmit more data in less time than wireless G, and with a longer range.five times the performance and up to twice the range compared to the 802.11g standard.
Even though 802.11n was introduced in tech-ancient 2007, you might still have devices in your home that operate on the wireless G standard. Upgrading to wireless N is a quick way to give your network a boost.
There's two things you need to check: Your wireless router and the devices, or "clients," connected to it. Both need to be using the wireless N standards to see the benefits. Your router should identify itself as Team G or Team N (those shiny silver stickers with the microscopic print do contain useful information!), and you can discover your laptop's standard by looking up product specifications online or in its manual.
If your router is still rocking wireless G, it's time for an upgrade. Wireless N routers are abundant and affordable. If it's your laptop that needs updating, look into an inexpensive wireless N USB adapter.
(Images: Netgear Wireless-N Router is a Great Budget Buy (Unplggd Test Labs), Flickr member parl licensed for use under Creative Commons, Apple.com)