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How to Disable Onboard WiFi for Raspberry Pi 3

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Figuring out how to disable onboard WiFi for Raspberry Pi 3 is great if you have a USB WiFi adapter that you plan on using instead. If you plan on capturing and analyzing packets then you will need a WiFi adapter that supports monitor mode. The onboard WiFi for the Raspberry Pi doesn’t support monitor mode. A USB WiFi adapter can improve signal range as well.

HOW TO DISABLE ONBOARD WIFI FOR RASPBERRY PI 3 – BLACKLISTING DRIVER

Knowing how to disable onboard WiFi for Raspberry Pi 3 is as simple as modifying a configuration file. You will need to edit or create a file in the /etc/modprobe.d directory. This directory is used to add or remove modules. The device manager (udev) relies on modprobe to load drivers for automatically detected hardware.

To navigate to the directory open a terminal session and type in the following command:

cd /etc/modprobe.d

Now use the “ls” command to view the contents in that directory.

YOU WILL NEED TO BLACKLIST the onboard wifi driver

If you are using Kali Linux you will notice that there is a file named “blacklist-libnfc.conf“.This is the file that you will need to edit in order to know how to disable onboard WiFi for Raspberry Pi 3.

If you are using a different linux distribution rather than Kali Linux then you will notice that there is no “blacklist-libnfc.conf” file. You will have to create the blacklist file yourself. While in the /etc/modprobe.d directory you can create your own blacklist file by using the following command:

nano raspi-blacklist.conf

CONFIGURING THE BLACKLIST FILE

How to Disable Onboard WiFi for Raspberry Pi 3 - blacklist-libnfc.conf file

Now that you have either created your blacklist file or if you are editing the “blacklist-libnfc.conf” file in Kali Linux you will need to add a few statements to blacklist the drivers. Blacklisting the onboard WiFi driver will prevent your Raspberry Pi from automatically detecting and loading the driver.

When you have your blacklist file in edit mode you can add the following:

#wifi
blacklist brcmfmac
blacklist brcmutil

If you would like to blacklist the bluetooth as well you can add this:

#bluetooth
blacklist btbcm
blacklist hci_uart

HOW TO DISABLE ONBOARD WIFI FOR RASPBERRY PI 3 – COMPLETE

How to Disable Onboard WiFi for Raspberry Pi 3 - edited blacklist-libnfc.conf file

After you have placed the above statements in your blacklist file you can save it by typing “Ctrl+x“, then “y“, then “Enter“. When the file is saved all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi and you should see that the onboard WiFi doesn’t work.
Now you can use an external USB WiFi adapter and not have to worry about the onboard WiFi.

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