Is it possible to completely disable the WiFi on the Raspberry Pi 3? Meaning no wireless connection at all for eternity?

I think the best way is just to physically cut off the antenna from the board itself, but will it damage the Raspberry?


4 Answers 4


In raspbian do:

aptitude purge firmware-brcm80211

This way the wireless firmware wont be loaded at boot time. In addition, it will save RAM too.

  • Good answer although you could "save RAM" on about the same scale by shortening your hostname ;)
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 15:51

No transmitter will "like" an antenna being just cut off - it will fry for sure. Disable the built-in WiFi hardware in your OS, or - if it's a privacy concern - in your OS image disable the specific device support by VendorID/DeviceID pair, so there will be no way to detect it. If you need even more security+privacy - play with dtb-lists to prevent even an externally-built module to detect the WiFi chip and use a kernel modules signature check. But don't cut off the antenna - it's not the way it's done properly

  • will it disable all wave emission? I'd like to be sure there is no wave emission? Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 5:43
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    @PhilippeGachoud As far as I concern there's no WiFi chip that is emitting/active "by default", i.e. not being activated by direct-query/bios/driver/software first Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 11:01

Have a look at the rfkill program to disable wlan and bluetooth on the software level. I think some chips will turn off completely, others just stop transmitting anything.


I think that any kind of software has a backdoor, e.g. a creator of a software knows how to bypass it, or professional hackers learn how to attack "disabled" WiFi and Bluetooth computers

Therefore there's no way of 100% protect the Raspberry Pi 3, and I don't think there will be any future Raspberry Pi without wireless connectivity

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