1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Can Wi-Fi Be Turned Off for Computers and Routers?


Man Relaxing on Couch with Laptop Computer
Cavan Images/Iconica/Getty Images

Question: Can Wi-Fi Be Turned Off for Computers and Routers?

Say your network includes a wireless broadband router, but your computers are all connected to it via the Ethernet. When not making any wireless network connections, turning off the Wi-Fi radios can save power as well as improve network security. Ideally, you should disable wireless on both the router and all computers belonging to the network in this case. But how can Wi-Fi be turned off?

Answer: Personal computers allow you to turn wireless networking off and on easily, Disabling Wi-Fi on a wireless router, however, is not as simple.

Turning Off Wi-Fi for Personal Computers

Most computers and wireless network adapters possess a light (LED) indicating whether its wireless radios are currently active. Using a menu option or key press combination. you can quickly toggle Wi-Fi on and off. Details vary depending on the type of computer; consult the manufacturer's documentation for more information.

Turning Off Wi-Fi for Wireless Routers

Some broadband routers allow you to turn off wireless, while others do not. If supported, this option exists on the router's administration pages. For example, on many Linksys routers you can disable Wi-Fi as part of the Wireless Basic Settings by changing the Wireless Network Mode to OFF. If your router does not support a built-in feature to turn off Wi-Fi, you have only a few options as explained below.

Removing Wi-Fi Adapters and Antennas

If your computer's Wi-Fi adapter is connected by cable or inserted into a card slot, you can detach (remove) it to guarantee the Wi-Fi radios are disabled. Follow the recommended procedures for your operating system when removing network adapters, as improper removal can cause you to lose data

Some wireless routers feature external, detachable antennas. Removing these will affect the ability of the router to use Wi-Fi but will not turn off Wi-Fi.

Turning Down Wi-Fi Power

On many adapters and some routers, more advanced configurations options exist to control the transmitter power of the Wi-Fi radios. If your router does not otherwise support turning off wireless, changing the transmit (often called Tx) power to 0 can effectively disable Wi-Fi. Administrators more typically use this option to tweak their wireless network to reduce interference or improve range.

Router Firmware Upgrades

If your wireless router lacks features such as the ability to adjust Tx power or perhaps even fully disable Wi-Fi, upgrading the firmware will sometimes enable new administrative options. Consult the documentation for your firmware for details.


©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.