I recently bought a Aironet 1200 series access point (AIR-AP1231G-A-K9) and did the initial configuration - Setup IP on the AP, setup an SSID and enable the radio.
I used my laptop to connect to the SSID that I had created, but to my surprise the signal strength of my SSID was only 2 bars and sometimes 1 bar and I am within 2 feet of the access point! On the other hand, the signal quality/connection speed was varying between 24mbps and 36mbps.
Why is the signal strength so low?
Is is because I did not buy them with external antennas?
Did I miss something during the initial configuration?
Is there some option that I change/fine tune in the GUI to get better signal strength?
"Is is because I did not buy them with external antennas?"
Yes, that's correct. There are no internal antennas on that model of AP.
You need at least one, preferably two antennas of the same type for each radio. If you have the older "A" radio with the paddle antenna, then you only need one or two antennas for the 2.4G radio.