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Since Macs do not come with a physical WiFi on/off switch, I was wondering if switching off the WiFi from inside the OS turns off the network card also.

The Windows laptops come with a physical WiFi switch, which has the added benefit of turning off the network card to save battery in addition to turning off the WiFi.

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2 Answers 2

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Turning off wifi (either by a physical switch or in software) will power down the hardware radio transmitter to save energy. This is the same on both Macs and PCs.

Switching off wifi does not switch off networking. Modern laptops usually have networking built into the chipset. However even when there is a separate chip to provide networking it will use very little to no power if not connected to an ethernet cable.

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This being said, if you select "Turn WiFi Off" from the Wifi menu on OS X, it will sleep the hardware radio and put it into a low-power state, similar to the physical radio switches on Windows laptops; I believe that's the answer that the user was looking for. – Darth Android Apr 29 '13 at 15:57
@DarthAndroid yes, that is what I am looking for :) – rk. Apr 29 '13 at 16:01
@rk Go ahead and accept this answer then :) All you have to do is click the checkmark outline to the left of the answer! – Darth Android Apr 29 '13 at 16:08
@DarthAndroid reworded the answer a bit to try and address the OP more directly. Thanks for the input. – Brad Patton Apr 29 '13 at 16:15

No. For WiFi, both Macs and PCs have one Network Card, for the Ethernet, another Network Card.

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