How To Replace A Netgear Router Antenna

rp-sma-adapter-installed wanted to use a different antenna for their Netgear mbr624gu WiFi router. Unfortunately, this model comes with an antenna that is not removable. As with other antenna retrofits, this involves no soldering. But because there is already a mounting area for an antenna, no case altering is needed either. After opening the router with a Torx driver it was discovered that the non-removable antenna was connected to the board with a mini rf connector (U.FL). The antenna and its mounting bracket were removed and a U.FL to RP-SMA adapter was put in its place using a washer to secure it to the rear plate of the router. Now any external antenna can be used and the router still looks brand new.

65 thoughts on “How To Replace A Netgear Router Antenna

  1. god dammit, would you people shut up about how “this site sucks”? can you stop saying “rip hack a day” for just one minute?

    it’s not the easiest thing to do: to find a fresh, interesting, clever hack every single day. back when many of these hacks were floating around, but yet undiscovered, it might’ve been easier. today, that is not the case. and many new readers are not technology veterans with a workshop full of amazing tools. they are people who read it because they’ve come across something they like – maybe something they can do without extreme effort, maybe something they just find interesting.

    for fuck’s sake, if you can’t contribute something useless, just don’t post.

    for fuck’s sake, if you don’t like the site, you’re not required to visit.

    and if you don’t like the upper-caseness, write your own css rules for the site to ‘text-transform: lowercase’ everything.

    that’s enough already.

  2. So let me get this straight. This article clearly states that it “involves no soldering” and that “no case altering is needed”. Are we going to next have articles showing us how to “hack” a stick of ram into the slot it’s made to go in? How about a “hack” demonstrating how you can install a stereo, into a car!

    I normally don’t have this much of a problem with the lame stuff on this site lately, but seriously, this?

  3. @glagnar
    Our posts are useful. We’re showing our displeasure with what hack-a-day has become in the hopes that it may turn around. Instead of publishing one good hack per day, they’ve been publishing multiple crap ones. Your post doesn’t seem to be particularly useful either, so don’t say that ours aren’t. Do you expect us to politely make excited remarks about something that isn’t exciting at all? Do you expect us to add our knowledge and contribute to figure out better ways to put an antenna into a pre-machined hole?

  4. Maybe you guys should start your own hack a day that only shows elite hacks. I know, you could call it hack a week.

    I will admit the matchbook cars was pretty bad… but still I can’t help but think that it’s a lot easier to criticize than to do any real work.

  5. the documentation is good and the steps concise and accurately depicted but seriously, maybe… but not suited for

    def. HACK -verb et all. Computers. to devise or modify (a computer program), usually skillfully.

    but there was no HACKING to cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows (often fol. by up or down): to hack meat; to hack down trees.

    to get the job done.

    the key word being skillfully. But I will add there should be a touch of INNOVATION.

    I guess I need to get working now.

  6. Honestly… to anyone running Hackaday:
    This site used to be a highly selective collection of hacks and projects done by SKILLED hobbyists and otherwise KNOWLEGEABLE individuals.
    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop turning this site into every other shitty indiscriminate weblog.
    Past few posts…
    guy sticks an antenna into a already drilled hole…
    someone figures out 2 metal cars can work like a switch…

    I guess what I’m really saying is that if we wanted a site filled with projects done by nine year olds we are perfectly capable of going to istructables.

    In the end being published on this site used to mean something now its like a haven electronically inept.

  7. Decent mod, not quite a hack but the documentation is good. I agree with Glagnar, i would add, if you can’t see it for what it is, no need to post about what it isn’t. it’s also a good thing to remember, we were all beginners once, if you know of a trick that might help someone, you should share it, not everyone is as good as all you elite gods out there.

  8. While I agree that the quality of the content here has gone downhill, these kinds of “hacks”, albeit simple, have always appeared on hack-a-day. Just flip through the old posts and you’ll see a number of these kind of articles.

  9. “it’s not the easiest thing to do: to find a fresh, interesting, clever hack every single day.” Correction. It was. It happened fairly regularly for 4 years.. they’re still out there. You see, we’ve become lazy.. indignant even. And it goes way beyond just this website (believe me).

    @Glagnar and vikki: That’s it, just lay down and take it. Let it go to hell.. who cares about ‘standards’ anyways? Sorry, but the rants won’t stop.. not for a long time.

  10. @ David Harris.. die in a fire. The majority of us doing the complaining have been doing all of the ‘real work’ as you put it since before most of you were around to read this site, as pitiful as it has become. some of those people are responsible for the hacks and tweaks that made all of the crap you carry in your pocket today possible, and we’re a little pissed that instead of advancing technology, we’re feeding the drooling masses stashes of retardcandy.

    Those of us who have been here since the beginning can see how fast it’s turning to shit. There’s no real hacking going on here anymore, only regurgitated horseshit that serves no useful purpose.

    You sit there and talk a storm of shit about us when you obviously have no clue why this site was created or what it’s supposed to be about. the fact that it’s turning sour is really saddening to some of us.

    I mean replacing an antenna with one that screws loose from the connector… wow groundshattering. And when you talk about the Matchbox nonsense, let’s not forget the multiple waste of space posts regarding Lego ‘hacks’.

    Building shit with Legos is not a hack, it’s something children have been doing since the inception of Legos. Unless you build me a hybrid car or something out of Legos, then I’m ready to read. The damn Legos in the post probably cost more than an actual stand so what’s the point? Exactly… there isn’t one, except to bloat up the posts.

    But hey, glad the retardcandy is working for the rest of you, at least if you’re busy reading and posting here, you can’t be out causing real trouble in the world.

  11. The value of the site is in the comments. The ‘articles’ are just links. The comments analyse, critique, suggest, encourage with a joke or two thrown in for good measure. The draw for me has been that on almost any topic, there’s usually someone with years of experience and insight that weighs in.

    Imagine the site with no comments, just a list of links to such gems as “how to make a switch by touching two wires”.

  12. @glagnar

    @Hack-a-day: Can we have some sort of comment meta moderation driven by users?
    I’m really getting tired of this “I’m here longer than you, this site is going downhill” bullshit.
    I used to find relevant information appended to articles in the form of user comments. Now I only see crying babies.

    Here it is a cool article some might like:

  13. @Mike Szczys

    Nice link and reference. Didn’t know there were models out there using U.FL connections on the pcb. I’ve got a spare dongle laying around… maybe time to pick up one of these routers….

  14. Every router I’ve taken apart so far has either had a standard sma connector out the back or no connector at all.

    I wish I had uber leet skills in hacking and an awesome workshop of hacks, and had 14 different engineering degrees, and was called a hacking god among peers….JUST so I could come to Hackaday and complain about everything that doesn’t involve hardware/software hacks which take months to complete and the necessary 20 years experience in hardware/software.

    brb, being amazed at “simple” “hacks” still.

  15. hmmmm. dont know what to say about this post lol. Should I be offended ? no . Hackaday is here to serve everyone, including the ones new to this. I once too was at that stage and would love to see many follow us.

    I’m a regular visitor of this dutch site and they filter the news out by type. I guess Hackaday could try the same approach. Not sure how it would affect the site but its worth a try.

  16. All these people that insist on not complaining about the quality of the stuff posted here are just like the people who insist kids shouldn’t keep score in competitions because it’s healtier. Or that just because you show up to some competition you deserve a prize. Bullshit on an astronomical scale.

  17. Seems like most comment areas on most sites look just like this one. Take Slashdot for example…one paragraph of text and hundreds of comments debating each other and correcting each others bad grammar and dubious spelling. Just keep the hacks coming, regardless of the chatter. thx.

  18. Hack: To alter to do something that it wasn’t designed for.

    That’s how I look at this site – nothing more. Too many complainers, not enough submitters and as usual, everyone’s a critic. How many of you moaners have actually created something and subsequently submitted it?

    Don’t like the site? Go away. No-one likes you anyway as you only speak jargon in real life, so this was the only sanctuary you had. What do you care if it turns to shit? You don’t – you just like complaining that it’s not l33t enough for you any more.

    This hack is a typical example of what can be achieved by a mass audience (which is the best kind) and just because they’re not using a frickin ARDUINO it doesn’t constitute as being valid.

    Get off your fat, lazy arses and do something with your lives instead of wasting time complaining about the nature of a hack.

    Sorry for the rant, but I’ve had enough of people bitching about others work when they’re not prepared to contribute themselves.

  19. there’s been some hack-a-better-antenna-in articles here before. everyone’s interested in getting better performance out of their wifi devices after all. this method is the cleanest and easiest so far, the only caveat is it only works on some routers.

  20. Those of you using FireFox and Stylish can add a .commentlinks { display:None; } entry to hide all the comments.

    You can do the same using Adblock Pro using
    a div.commentlinks entry

    I’m finding the noise in comments to be far worse than the signal-to-noise ratio of the stories.

  21. @Marty

    You’re forgetting one thing we elitist all have in common. Whats the first thing we do when we have a new toy in our possession? We play with it and try to figure out how it works and try to make it better. Guess whats 2nd ? We take it apart ! And third we go google about it to see what others have achieved with the same toy.

    Now back to the netgear router, I’ve taken many routers apart and a few happened to be of the same brand. Why did I take it apart? Just to see if I could interface it with my JTAG cable and try crazy stuff with it.

    Word of advice for anyone with a router… go to google and search for kinky stuff like DD-WRT or any of the other names in the market.

  22. A hack does not require cutting, glueing, soldering, programming, etc. It requires taking something, and doing something with it that was not intended by the manufacturer.

    Take Phone Phreaking (kids, look it up!). In some cases, all that required was to walk to a payphone with a toy whistle from a cereal box to start controlling trunk lines. But I challenge you to deny that there was some pretty serious hacking going on.

    To all those complaining about “the site going downhill” and what not: Do better yourselves. Hack something, write it up, and post it. You think this stuff comes out of thin air?

  23. I do somewhat agree with the naysayers here. There used to be a quality level that was a bit higher here, when there was only one hack a day. Sure, in times of draught the hacks were a bit less technically impressive, but on average there was a good quality of hacks posted on the site every day. Nowadays, I get the impression that at HAD-HQ the general idea is that if something is found that looks like a hack, they’ll post it. I personally wouldn’t mind the bar being a bit higher, with perhaps one-hack-a-day-periods if there isn’t that much interesting in the tip line rather than filler posts about legos or matchbox-cars.

    On the other hand: usually the technical level of a hack is immediately visible. If so, you could just discard it and act as it hasn’t been posted.

  24. I remember when posts required confirmation via email to even get posted. I think that should be reinstated. I doubt it’ll cut down on the trolls much, but it’s worth a shot. Those who have meaningful input will still post anyhow.

    Also, we need simple hacks like this one for the newbie hacks. If you try to start them out on something that requires 5 years experience in electronics design to pull off, they’ll lose interest.

    It truly is amazing how little people think when they are on-line and “anonymous” (even though their IP is logged and if they use a real email, that’s logged too and …)

  25. @ edz


    just because the item in question wasn’t mangled beyond recognition or there wasn’t 1337 code burned on the eprom doesn’t mean that this isn’t a hack. A hack is exactly what edz said…making something off of a production line do something it wasn’t intended to do. whether that be a getting program on a computer to do something else, Ooooooorrr installing an aftermarket antenna on a router that it wasn’t supposed to accept.

    keep it going hackaday, (as a reader of 2600 as ewll, i take pride in this statement) there shouldn’t be a hack too small or large that you shouldn’t post!

  26. Agreed… this is not really a “hack”, but it is informative–how would you have known this was so simple w/o this short write-up? So now many someone out there will buy this router knowing that they can add an external antenna easily–tho voiding the warranty.

    Keep going hackaday, this is fine stuff.

  27. wow, this is my little “hack”, thanks to whoever submitted it to hackaday. i know it’s not the craziest little mod out there, but i found it useful, and i hope someone else can too. more than a couple netgear routers use the same setup.

  28. I don’t submit because I don’t think you need to see my “ping pong ball LED diffuser” experiments that I’m doing right now. They are too elementary.

    I used to kinda look to this site for some of my inspiration, but I recently gave all my Lego to my nephew and niece, and i don’t have a good app for a controller.

  29. to all:
    Hackaday is evolving like every other entity. They’ve been making changes and growing their daily base for years now. Remember Eliot explaining the growth to the whiny commenters back in 2005? I do.

    what this site needs, isn’t to limit the stories. What this site needs is to grow the delivery platform to benefit the readers.

    There should be something like a skill level filter. You can select whatever level you want to see. There’s no reason that simple little mods shouldn’t be posted, but you shouldn’t have to sift through them if you don’t want to.

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