What can be done about slow performance from the DIRECTV C41W wireless client?

DIRECTV’s C41W wireless Genie mini client is a little miracle. With this silent box you can put DIRECTV almost anywhere in your home, including out on the patio. While other companies have struggled to deliver a wireless receiver, DIRECTV’s C41W has succeeded year in and year out. Nearly everyone loves it, and the new Genie 2 DVR even lets you connect one without the use of a wireless video bridge.

But what if you think yours is a slow piece of (well you know)?

There is a small but vocal group who don’t like the C41W and they’re willing to tear their hair out. For them, it’s the slowest box they’ve ever used. And yet this is the same hardware other people are using, so what could be happening? Here are a few tips that might help speed up a lagging C41W.

Upgrade your Genie DVR.
I’ve found that a lot of folks who complain about speed are still using the first-generation HR34 Genie DVR. This was a great box when it launched… in 2011. Since then the newer generations have gotten a lot faster, smaller and quieter. The new HS17 Genie 2 is the fastest yet. Upgrading to a new DVR could solve speed problems once and for all.

Move the Video Bridge.
The official line from DIRECTV is that you can have up to 50 feet and 5 walls between the wireless video bridge and the wireless client, but the further away the two are, the slower things will be. If possible, move the video bridge closer to the client, but be careful — DIRECTV also recommends no more than 150 feet of cable between video bridge and DVR, including both the run from WVB to splitter and from splitter to Genie. Still, even a small move might help performance immensely, if the video bridge’s signal is being blocked by in-wall wiring.

Hard-reset the client
This is absolutely the last resort and most of the time it doesn’t work, but if you press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds, the client will completely restore itself to factory condition and you can pair it with the video bridge and re-add it to the Genie DVR. Here’s a tutorial on how to do this that also helps you understand some of the light signals on the video bridge that might indicate problems. I generally don’t expect this to work but if you’re willing to put in the effort, it’s worth trying.

Upgrade?
I do expect that there will be a new wireless client coming at some point, if for no other reason than DIRECTV is moving away from the old logo on the front of their receivers. Will this new client have faster performance? It’s hard to tell. Looking at the wired clients, we’ve gone from C31 to C41, C51, and we’re now at the C61 model with practically no differences other than that AT&T globe logo on the front. Who knows if the next-gen wireless client will do even better than it does today.