Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the lifetime of Wi-Fi card. I have wireless switched on in my laptop always. Is it advisable to switch it off after use?

share|improve this question
up vote 12 down vote accepted

It will probably lengthen the time you get from your battery without recharging. Other than that, I severely doubt that using an antenna will lower the life expectance of it. At least not in meaningful time spans.

share|improve this answer
There are situations where an external antenna could indeed result in a lowered life expectancy. The phenomenon that causes this is called Signal Wave Reflection(SWR). Basically in a nutshell it is an echo within the wire going to the antenna. You need a properly tuned antenna to avoid this happening. So matching the antenna to the wireless card is very important. It needs to be tuned for the correct output frequency or there will be SWR. Too much SWR will burn out your transmitter. – Axxmasterr Aug 10 '09 at 14:02
At the low power levels that Wi-Fi runs, SWR is pretty much a non-factor. Even the cheapest finals can handle a large percentage of reflected power. – Brian Knoblauch Dec 9 '09 at 17:38

No, the Wi-Fi card lifetime is not significantly impacted by leaving it on. Given how fast hardware and software evolve, you are likely to find you need to replace the PC or laptop before the Wi-Fi conks out.

However, you might want to do this to conserve power if you notice that having Wi-Fi turned on drains the laptop/netbook battery a lot faster, typically if you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network and the card is trying to auto-detect nearby networks every few seconds.

I typically do this on mobile devices like my Nokia phone that has Wi-Fi connectivity. The battery drains a whole lot faster if the phone is constantly scanning the neighbourhood for Wi-Fi networks.

share|improve this answer

Probably wise to shut it off from the standpoint of it making your computer harder to hack. Lifespan, no.

share|improve this answer

There is no special recommendations on it. But if you in doubt, refer to your's WiFi card user's manual.

share|improve this answer

My current laptop's been with me for 5 years, I never "turn off" the wireless card, and have never had any issues with it.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .