ASUS Transformer Prime antenna hack

I love my Transformer tablet, except for the well-documented crappy WifFi reception. Unfortunately, I was an early adopter and didn’t benefit from the wealth of community feedback regarding the problem this otherwise great tablet has with WiFi and GPS reception. The problem in brief seems to be that the antennas are sandwiched between the metal case on the back and the screen, and maybe more circuitry backing it, on the front.

I want to be able to use this thing at work, primarily in meetings, but our already poor WiFi signal in many conference rooms makes it almost useless. So, I finally got up the nerve to try some kind of hack.

Following the instructions here, I cracked this baby open. I didn’t have any kind of high-tensile strength plastic pry-tool, so I just used a jewelers screwdriver to get it started. This made my pretty nervous, since metal against glass has a much higher likelihood of chipping or cracking, but being as careful as possible, it worked OK. It did scratch the back-plate rim slightly, though.

I used aluminum foil backed by double-sided sticky tape, instead of a roll of specialized copper foil, since it’s all I had. I also made the antenna shorter. I don’t know if the guy in the video picked any particular length for his antennas – they’re pretty long…possibly he was going for a full-wave antenna – but I didn’t want anything that gaudy, so I went for 1/4-wave antenna, which for 2.4Ghz, works out to about 1.25 “. I left about an extra 1/4” of the aluminum foil exposed on both sides at one end and sandwiched that between what appears to be some spongy metal stuff that appears to be stuck to the back-plane with double-side sticky tape, and the exposed copper trace of the antenna on the front board. I’m not sure this is the ideal physical connection – I’m not an antenna guru, but I suspect that might be the “ground plane”, rather than the radiating connection.

However, I am definitely getting better reception, so I’m pretty please. It’s still not great, so I’ll probably crack it open again and at least do the other antenna, to improve antenna diversity, and maybe take another look at physical connection options.

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