Wow, thanks the 300ft cat sound like the best suggestion. I would like to add an antenna to the laptop, it's a Dell D620, but it's card and antenna is all internal. So I have no idea how to do that, or the can thingie might be a good option as it's portable and directional.
I'm going to mark this solved, cause we have some good research here for others to review if they are having the same problem. But feel free to drop in more ideas, as I'm sure there's a 1,000 ways to do it.
I think increasing the base antenna is a cheap test for my first try. Thanks again!