I wonder if a wi-fi router can be damaged if its external antennas are unscrewed?

Have you ever damaged such a router leaving it to work without antennas, like this:

enter image description here Source

I know that there are numerous questions regarding what happens if the antenna of a radio transmitter is disconnected. However, I have not found until now people that ruined a wi-fi router just by disconnecting its antennas.

Do those two wires that run between the final stages of the router and the antenna connectors (see the picture) radiate power and save the router in case one or both antennas are unscrewed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Although the output power is low from any WiFi router, if the RF amplifier does not see a load (antenna), the power will be dissipated in that IC instead. Does everything else work except the radio part or is it bricked? \$\endgroup\$ – winny Nov 22 '18 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a similar router but this is not a picture of my router. I unscrewed each antenna and at one point both of them. The RSSI displayed by my router dropped to -83 dBm (I used it as an wi-fi extender). When I put back the antennas the RSSI increased again to -55 dBm as it was before. Anyway, if i hear that other people bricked wi-fi routers by disconnecting the antennas I will not do the test again. Do the 2 gray wires in the picture dissipate any power if the entire signal is reflected back to its source? \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Werner Nov 22 '18 at 7:07

It's unlikely that the router would be damaged by operating it without antennas. The overall power is low so the transmitter output stages would probably handle it.

The "wires" are coaxial cables and by design are NOT good radiators so would not do much to "save" the router.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I disregarded the fact that the two wires could be in fact coaxial cables. Something else: Are those copper traces looking like an interrupted square and having inside two symmetrical circuits (bottom-right on the picture) internal antennas that can protect the final stages or they are something else? \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Werner Nov 22 '18 at 7:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. Those copper traces are locations where a metal shield could be put on the board to reduce unwanted RF emissions. \$\endgroup\$ – duskwuff -inactive- Nov 22 '18 at 7:46

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