Introduction: TP-LINK TL-WR703N Antenna Mod Using U.FL SMT Connector

After having success with the TL-MR3040, I also wanted to expand the range of the WR703N by adding an external antenna via a new SMT U.FL connector and RP-SMA pigtail. No fancy tools or special training required to build.

Step 1: Gather Materials

++Things You'll Need++

- U.FL SMT connector (1)
- U.FL to RP-SMA pigtail (1)
- RP-SMA Antenna (1)

- Soldering Iron w/ solder
- Small Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Small Flat-Head Screwdriver
- Small Pliers
- Drill w/Bits
- Pencil or Pen

Step 2: Take It Apart


1. Unplug all cables
2. Slide flat-head screwdriver between the white and blue portions of the case, near the RJ45 (see image)
3. Apply light pressure and gently pry at all tabs (see image #2)
4. Separate case portions
5. Remove mainboard

Step 3: Plan of Attack

++Mark Board For U.FL Connector Location++

1. Place connector down
2. Orient the U.FL connector (see image)
3. Mark where it will go with pen or pencil
4. Set connector aside

++Used For Reference (PDF file)++

Step 4: Remove the Trace

++Remove Copper and Tin++

1.Use the small flat-head screwdriver to scratch away the copper trace that was outlined in the previous step
2.Apply solder at noted locations (see image)

Step 5: Install U.FL Connector

++Solder Connector++

1. Place the U.FL connector in the newly free'd area
2. Ensure orientation of connector as explained previously
3. Apply light pressure to the connector so that it doesn't move around when soldering
4. Apply gentle heat from the soldering iron to the pre-soldered areas from the previous step to attach one of the ground tabs
5. Use the same technique for the center pin tab

Step 6: Add the Pigtail

++Install Pigtail++

1. Drill hole in case to accommodate RP-SMA end of pigtail, hole should be slightly higher than center as to not pinch the mainboard
2. Remove extra plastic under the new hole to fit the RP-SMA end snugly
3. Attach U.Fl end to mainboard
4. Drop mainboard back into case while routing the Pigtail around any case snaps
5. Slide the RP-SMA end through the hole and tighten nut

Step 7: Finish Up

++Put It Back Together++

1. Snap the case back together while avoiding pinching the new wire
2. Install new external antenna
3. Power up and test
4. Success


Scanning WiFi using the stock openWRT software provided 8 networks without antenna, and 20+ networks with a 9dbi high gain antenna. As always, your mileage may vary.