Ed's wife's laptop gets intermittent Wi-Fi reception. It works hardwired, but it's hit and miss for the laptop on Wi-Fi. Could it be the card? Leo says so many things can cause the problem. Every once in awhile Wi-Fi will just drop out. It's one of the reasons why Leo doesn't allow his guests to use Skype on Wi-Fi. Leo suggests buying a USB Wi-Fi adapter. They're fairly inexpensive and can show if the hardware is the issue. If the problem persists, then the hardware isn't really the problem here.
Leo advises running a Wi-Fi Access Point analyzer. Inssider is a good one from MetaGeek. Xirrus makes Wi-Fi Inspector. This will give him a good idea what Wi-Fi looks like around there, and show what bands are better than others. There's also probably a lot of congestion as well. It's hard to diagnose, unfortunately.