How to turn radios off completely?

Hello, I'm just wondering how I can turn off radios completely. My aim is turn off radiation from my router. I'm pretty aware that it isn't harmful for humans, but I'd like to turn it off the same when I do not need WiFi.

Does wifi down do what I need? Once run such a command, It seems like all the radios are turned off but I'm not sure if it switches off the antennas from the electromagnetic perspective.

I don’t know. Do you want them off permanently or do you wanna turn them on and off at will? I am wondering about blacklisting the module or modules needed to drive the chipset.

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Hi, I need to turn them on and off according to the needs. I'm wondering if wifi down can do the job.

See this:


Thank you @AndrewZ. Those procedures are "just" a convenient way to do the same done by wifi down?

I still do not understand if wifi down, wifitoggle, etc... actually switch the antennas off or if they just prevent WiFi connections, leaving the antennas switched on.

Antenna is a piece of wire, you better talk about an RF transceiver.
Run any Wi-Fi analyser app on your phone and see that the signal from your AP will disappear and reappear as a result of the toggle.


Antenna is a piece of wire, you better talk about an RF transceiver .

Thanks for that clarification!

Run any Wi-Fi analyser app on your phone and see that the signal from your AP will disappear and reappear as a result of the toggle.

Yes, If if run, for example, wifi down I can clearly see my APs disappearing from the the AP list. I'm not an expert, so I do not known if the radio transmitter continues emitting radio waves even when it doesn't need to emit data, nor beacon packets.

Is rfkill ( available on OpenWrt?

BusyBox or kmod if enabled in buildroot.

Does rfkill do something different than OpenWRT commands?

I have a couple of Zyxel WSM 20 here that I don't use productively but only for testing purposes.

They have 2 radios with 6 SSIDs each and a tagged vlan uplink.

One of those consumes between 7.5W and 8W without doing much.

I just hit "wifi down" on one of them and watched the power consumption go down to 6 to 6.5W. So a reduction of power consumption of about 1.5W.

This most likely means "wifi down" really turns the wifi off.


rfkill disables/shutdowns the hardware. And I assume power is then totally cut to it.

Thank you really helpful! Reduced power consumption and the disappearance of the AP are good hints. I guess that there isn't any objective test to check if it's really so.

Not really. All three methods will provide the expected end result.

rfkill isn’t an option unless you’re prepared to set up a build environment.


I have a script in /etc/rc.button/rfkill, is somehow related?

Yes, but they relate to actions to take on a hardware button press. The noted script uses wifi up. See @andrewz post #4.

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Ok, so I used:

with the default settings:

# uci show wifitoggle

I had already set up 2.4 and 5 GHz leds on my router in order to detect WiFi On/Off. Now when I press the wifi button or the wps button, I toggle the wifi status and leds change accordingly. 2 questions:

  1. why do both buttons behave the same?
  2. are they executing the scritps in /etc/rc.button behind the scenes, or are they related with them in some other way? (it looks like it executes /etc/hotplug.d/button/50-wifitoggle, but, out of curiosity. I'd like to understand what's the role of scripts in /etc/rc.button)

Depending on what router you have it might be possible the buttons were already configured. If so, you have potentially just added the same functionality to the 'WPS' button as was already available by default on the 'wifi' button.

[OpenWrt Wiki] Attach functions to a push button


I'm quite sure that this is not my case. If I remove wifitoggle both buttons stop working.

Maybe it happened something strange when I issued:

uci set wifitoggle.@wifitoggle[0].button='rfkill' && uci commit

Maybe it mapped the functionality to the button rfkill, but it didn't remove it from the wps.

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