One of the reasons I chose to buy my Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi motherboard is right in its name – it has built-in WiFi. Inside the box is a small antenna with two wires. The antenna is on a hinge so it can be tilted at an angle or folded down against the base, which has a magnet on the bottom.
I thought this system was well designed for the typical desktop PC. The motherboard ports are usually sitting close to the ground against the wall and not a good place to have antenna stick out. Also, tower cases are typically steel, friendly for magnet attachment. So the bundled antenna and its wires allow the antenna to sit on top of the tower case where it should get a better signal.
My PC, however, is not a typical PC. Steel sheet metal is currently beyond my capabilities, so my case materials will be aluminum extrusion, laser-cut acrylic, and 3D-printed plastic. None of which are magnetic! Also, the placement of the motherboard meant the ports plate is top and center of the case, which is actually an idea location for an antenna.
Thanks to help from Tux-Lab, I learned the WiFi connector on my motherboard plate is of type RP-SMA. Given this information, it was trivial to find all the connectors for sale by Amazon vendors world-wide. I quickly noticed some of them only claimed to support the 2.4GHz band. A quick check on the spec sheet confirmed my motherboard WiFi is a dual-band unit so I need to look for dual-band antenna.
- No antenna: Link Quality=32/70
- Original bundled antenna: Link Quality = 60/70
- New aftermarket antenna: Link Quality = 70/70
Fewer wires, simpler design, higher link quality, I think this is a win!
And on a completely silly note, I’m amused by the fact they made my Luggable PC Mark II look like an old-fashioned TV with rabbit-ear antenna.