Raspberry Pi's Itty Bitty Antenna


I had my Pi dangling by its power cord so the USB / ethernet connectors were pointed at the ground. I was getting terrible WiFi communications. I moved it so it was flat. Trouble gone.

Just how directional is its itty bitty antenna?

(And, if 3D Fab goes wireless are we going to have to reposition all the Octoprint Pis?)


It’s not a very good antenna even under ideal circumstances. Hard to complain for $35 though. The Pi Zero W is even worse but it’s $5 so… If you need to go a long distance or need high throughout I would get a USB wireless adapter with a better antenna.


The Hackaday article here has some photos of the directionality of the Zero W which is the same as in the larger pi (though the Zero doesn’t have the large metal connectors which will affect the radio waves).


The RPi3 chip antenna is pretty bad, but the new RPi3B+ has an antenna that built into the board. You can see it as the “V” shaped void in the ground plane next to the GPIO pins opposite the USB ports. It is designed to work with both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands and does a surprisingly good job. It isn’t designed for long range, but is fine for short range. It is pretty good about being omnidirectional, but it does need to be on the same plane (horizontal or vertical) as your WiFi access point.

The RPi0W has a similar antenna, but it only does 2.4GHz.