Can you turn off the wireless radios in a Genie 2 (HS17)?

I first would ask you, why would you want to?

A DIRECTV Genie 2 has two wireless radios. It has a traditional Wi-Fi radio.  This connects to your home internet. With Wi-Fi, you download interactive content, get software updates, and use On Demand.

There’s also a second radio which is part of a very special wireless network using 802.11ac technology. This wireless network is used for DIRECTV’s wireless Genie mini clients. Putting them on their own, private wireless network means you’ll get a better and more consistent connection. You see, Wi-Fi isn’t really designed for smooth video. Wi-Fi’s purpose is to deliver fast, accurate data transfers. If a transmission isn’t received, the transmitting device repeats it. Obviously you would not want that with live video. Since DIRECTV live TV programming doesn’t buffer like Netflix does, it’s very important that there is a smooth transfer between the client and the Genie 2.

What if you don’t want…

Not everyone has a wireless Genie mini client. Some folks will never have wireless clients, and among them will be a small group of people who just object to the idea of another wireless signal for no reason.

These folks aren’t crazy, they aren’t conspiracy buffs, they just have their reasons. Maybe it’s the extra few watts that a wireless signal requires. Perhaps there’s some legitimate interference with something else in their homes. It could be they just like efficient things and hate waste. Or, they’re just irked about seeing another SSID on their network list. For whatever reason, several people have asked me how to turn off the wireless signal on a Genie 2.

Hate to break it to you

Unfortunately there is nothing in the Genie 2 menu system that lets you disable either wireless connection. Even with an active Ethernet connection, the Wi-Fi adapter still broadcasts. Not to mention, the Genie 2 is always, 100% of the time, going to be the host of its own wireless network. There is no way for regular humans to stop it.

You could open the case…

…but I wouldn’t. It goes against your customer agreement. If you ever need to return the hardware AT&T will charge you because you opened it.

You could wrap it in tinfoil…

But then of course you’d be covering all the vents up and the thing would overheat No one wind when that happens.

You could construct an elaborate faraday cage to trap all the wireless signals…

Yes, if this sort of thing really upsets you, you could create a Faraday cage that filters out Wi-Fi. That’s a metal cage where the distance between each piece of metal is under 6 centimeters. This would trap both 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals fairly effectively while letting air get in. More power to you if you’re willing to go this route. Just keep in mind you’ll still need wired Ethernet at that point because the HS17 Genie 2 gets its updates primarily online.

Or you could learn to live with it.

While this may not please the more particular among us, the easiest way to deal with the fact of Genie 2’s wireless radios is to simply accept that they exist. They cost pennies a year to operate and in most cases they’re not going to interfere with anything else in your home. Think about it — you don’t unplug your router when you’re done using it. You don’t disconnect your cordless phone (if you have one.) You don’t turn off your cell when you’re not on a call. These devices constantly fill the air around you with radio transmissions,  generally considered harmless. The two transmissions from your Genie 2 are just a little bit more.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.