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Currently I am using a a wireless router (Asus RT-N12) and Wireless USB adaptor (TL-WN722N). Both of these have removable external antennas (RP-SMA connectors).

I want to know the correct and safe way to change an antenna on a wireless device.

Should I power of the device first? Will changing an antenna while the device is running damage the antenna and/or hardware?

I'm quite new to wireless technology and have minimal background with electronics. I did a quick search on the web but didn't find any answers to my question.

  • Yes!! Do power down the device. – StBlade Oct 30 '13 at 7:43
  • I've certainly done that before. No observable damage. – John Dvorak Oct 30 '13 at 7:44
  • @StBlade, I thought that would be the logical thing to do. But Do you have any references to backup what you said? – suit Oct 31 '13 at 0:32
  • @suit. I always play it safe when it comes to any hardware components where electricity is involved. A small imperceptible short is enough to damage any electronic device. Static electricity when you touch something is close to 2000 volts, enough to fry a RAM module. – StBlade Oct 31 '13 at 7:04
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There is no need to turn off the equipment. You can safely change the antenna when router is turned on.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBm the maximum power of wi-fi is only 200mW, so its too low to short-circuit something.

To attach the ANT24-0700C antenna, remove the default detachable antenna from the wireless access point or router, and connect the ANT24-0700C antenna to the RP-SMA receptacle of the wireless device

  • This is indeed what my intuition and experience says, but I'd like to see some "hard evidence" here nevertheless. Or at least a schematic of a typical receiver circuit. – John Dvorak Oct 30 '13 at 7:45
  • I agree with Jan Dvorak. Say, if I put a 18dBi Yagi antenna on a 1000mW Alfa wireless adaptor would that have any potential to harm the device? – suit Oct 31 '13 at 0:27

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