When comparing devices that use antennas, such as Wi-Fi adapters or radios, there is always a choice to be made between internal and external antennas. While in operating principle there is no difference between the two, there can be significant practical differences.
Internal and external antennas both work best when there is as little interference as possible. The difference between the two types comes in the fact that, though usually small, an internal antenna always experiences interference from its enclosure in the device it serves.
With portable devices, the direction an antenna faces can have a significant effect on signal reception and transmission. External antennas are easy to identify and reposition for the best signal. An internal antenna, however, is hidden from view, making it difficult to determine the best position for the device.
While external antennas generally function better, they suffer from a significant flaw: they are exposed. External antennas can be bent or broken, seriously degrading the capability of the device. An internal antenna is protected from damage within the device it serves.
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