ElI5: Why do Wifi routers need to have antennas visible when mobiles phone doesn’t?

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Why they can’t just print the antenna’s on PCB just as they do it with mobile phones?

In: Technology

They can. There are many routers available without external antenna.

However, it’s a use case thing. The external antenna is a bit better, and is adjustable to help you get the most out of your router, which is something you’re going to set up in a corner somewhere and leave. It’s not a big deal if it’s got some extra limbs sticking off of it.

You’re phone on the other hand, has to be small, compact, and able to fit into a pocket. No one would buy a phone with an external antenna, even if it did improve performance.

External antennas are more effective and cheaper to make, but they are not worth the effort in cellular phones from an aesthetic standpoint.

You can buy routers that don’t have visible antennas, but most people hide their routers anyhow so the antennas are not an issue.

External antennas almost always gives you better signal for the same power and production cost. However the external antennas may be an issue for aesthetics and usability. Especially for cell phones, tablets and laptops that needs to be carried around and put in bags. But a WiFi router is usually mounted out of reach and in a hard to spot place. So you have a much better way to get away with antennas. Some routers even make the antennas an important part of the look of the device. However you do also get WiFi routers with built inn antennas. These are usually a bit more expensive and suffers a bit from reduced performance and higher power consumption.