Network - Wireless & Wired Connections

Help & troubleshooting for network issues, including connecting your device to your home Wi-Fi network, connecting to public networks, troubleshooting wireless issues & ethernet connections, and optimizing streaming performance.
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devrdander
Level 7

FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

So there are a TON of questions on this forum about the Roku player and networking (both wired and wireless) and I thought i would start a thread that maybe they could sticky for future reference.

Common Questions:

How fast does my connection need to be to get X dots in quality?

Bandwidth Requirements:
1 dot is 0.5Mbps
2 dots is 1.0Mbps
3 dots is 1.6Mbps
4 dots is 2.2Mbps

My bandwidth tests show i get more than 2.2mbps, but I'm only getting 1-2dots, why?

So far the common problems have been you have QoS enabled in your router or wireless access point, or you are using a congested wireless channel. See bellow for more details on both.

My unit updated/wasmoved/otherchange, and now it is having problems connecting or downloading my Instant Watch Queue?

Perform a factory reset on the unit, found on page 38 of your manual, and re-setup the network settings.

Basic Networking Terminology


Here's our Vocabulary list for this writeup:
Basic Components:
Broadband Modem: This is the device that connects directly to your Cable (via coax), DSL (via a phone cord), or in some cases Fiber for those lucky few in the verizon regions that can get FIOS. Quite often this is integrated with the Router.
Router: This is the device that actually has the publicly addressable IP from your ISP assigned to it. It then uses NAT to pass that service on to multiple devices on your home network. Quite often its integrated with your Broadband Modem as well as having basic Firewall Features.
Firewall: The security guard of your network, this device is used to control access in and out of the network. It is in effect a "list" of what is and inst allowed in and out. For most home users this is integrated into their router.
Access Point: An access point provides wireless access to your network. For most users this is integrated into the router, the Roku supports 802.11B/G. This will be covered in more details.

IP Management:
DHCP Server: This is a service that typically runs on your router or firewall device, it automatically assigns an IP address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, and DNS servers to your device.
DHCP Lease: When a device obtains its settings from a DHCP server, it is issued a Lease, the duration of this lease is configurable on some devices and will typically range from 24hours to 1 week.
Static IP: A 'hard coded' ip set on a device that only changes through manual intervention.
Private/Public IP: A Private IP is not routed across the internet, IANA Has Several Ranges of IP's that are allowed to be used privately. A public IP is one that is routed and reachable via the internet.
    Private IP ranges are as follows:
      10.x.x.x
      192.168.x.x
      172.16-31.x.x


Other/Advanced:
QoS: Quality of Service can be achieved through multiple methods, in a nut shell it helps police the traffic on your network letting more timesensitive or critical traffic take priority over non critical. A common example would be VOIP traffic which is time sensitive vs a large download which; in this case you want to make sure VOIP is never in contention for bandwidth and takes priority over your large download which can afford to loose a few bytes per second of bandwidth.
DNS: Domain Name System/Service/Server, this is what tells you the IP address of a domain name. Without it, your Roku NP wouldn't be able to find moviecontrol.netflix.com.
NAT: Network Address Translation is what keeps your computer safe from folks on the outside poking directly at your machine. It's the masking of the hard network address that your ISP is handing you and creating the "192.168.x.x" addresses that folks are more familiar with.


Wireless Setup and Tweaking

Seems most people are having issues with Wireless so I will start here. The roku supports 802.11B/G wireless networks which operate on the 2.4ghz open band. It supports WEP, WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK authentication and encryption.

Common Problems found on wireless networks:

Outdated Firmware: *DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ ALL WARNINGS AND CAUTIONS BEFORE DOING THIS, I DO NOT WORK FOR ROKU AND YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY THING THAT COULD GO WRONG* First thing you should check is with the manufacturer of your access point or wireless router and see if there is a firmware update available for your device. These can very commonly fix quite a few problems.

Channel Noise: If you live in a dense residential area like apartments, condos, or just a housing development, you may be able to see your neighbors wireless network. Its usually advisable to try and stay on a separate channel from them to avoid interference and noise on your wireless network. The 2.4ghz spectrum used for 802.11 is divided into 13 channels in the US. Each channel is 22mhz wide, and offset by 5mhz to the next channel. Because of this there is overlap on neighboring channels. Channels 1, 6 and 11 are commonly recommended as they have no overlapping frequencies. I would recommend you take the time to look and see which channel the neighboring wireless networks use, and try to find one with the least amount of overlap:


Double Nat: This isn't just wireless specific so I will cover it twice. Very commonly people buy a wireless ROUTER and not just an access point. They then attach it to their ISP's provided broadband modem/router and in turn end up NAT'ing their internet connection twice. This can break all sorts of things and should be avoided. How can you tell? Here are some things to check for:
    1) If your wireless access point has a jack labled WAN or INTERNET, it is probably a wireless access point/router. Infact, most Access Points only have 1 ethernet jack on them. You CAN use a wireless router as just an access point, but you need to first log into it's administration page and turn off all features like DHCP, etc, and then attach it via one of its LAN ports to your wired network and not use the Internet/LAN jack.
    2) If your ISP provided DSL/Cable/Fios modem has several LAN ports on it, it is probably also a router.
    3) If when you do a traceroute you see multiple private IP's before you see a public IP, you may be double NAT'd. To test this (Make sure you are connecting in the same manor as your player, so if its on wireless, you should be using wireless), in windows, go to start, then run. Type in CMD and click OK. Once at a command prompt type:
C:\>tracert moviecontrol.netflix.com

Tracing route to moviecontrol.netflix.com [208.75.76.19]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 10.10.10.1 <--My Gateway
2 7 ms 7 ms 11 ms 201.12.48.3 <--Public IP
...
21 * * * Request timed out.
22 126 ms 127 ms 125 ms svc-cntr-02.inet.qwest.net [205.171.14.6]
23 126 ms 124 ms 127 ms 66.77.104.138
24 126 ms 125 ms 125 ms 63.236.56.164
25 119 ms 118 ms 120 ms moviecontrol.netflix.com [208.75.76.19]

Trace complete.
    What you dont want to see is this:
C:\>tracert moviecontrol.netflix.com

Tracing route to moviecontrol.netflix.com [208.75.76.19]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 10.10.10.1 <--NAT Gateway 1
2 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 192.168.1.1 <--NAT Gateway 2 (Oh Noes)
3 7 ms 7 ms 11 ms 201.12.48.3 <--Public IP
...
21 * * * Request timed out.
22 126 ms 127 ms 125 ms svc-cntr-02.inet.qwest.net [205.171.14.6]
23 126 ms 124 ms 127 ms 66.77.104.138
24 126 ms 125 ms 125 ms 63.236.56.164
25 119 ms 118 ms 120 ms moviecontrol.netflix.com [208.75.76.19]

Trace complete.
    Private IP ranges are as follows:
      10.x.x.x
      192.168.x.x
      172.16-31.x.x


Router Setup

There have been a reasonable number of issues that are resolved via changing settings in your router. Alot of these have to do with either DHCP, QoS, Firewall or DNS.

Common Problems found in Router Configuration:

DHCP: The Roku doesn't currently have the option to set a static IP and relies on DHCP. Make sure your router, or other device, has DHCP enabled. You want your lease time to be between 1 day to 1 week, I typically prefer to use 7 days but its highly debated and honestly not worth the trouble. What you want to avoid is a short lease time, say 1 hour, as it may cause the device to try and renew its lease in the middle of video play and interrupt your experience. Also DHCP is where you can setup a reservation so that your Roku player always gets the same IP address in case you want to setup special rules in other areas of your firewall.

DNS: It's still being looked into but some users are experiencing issues with their ISP provided DNS servers. The common recommendation is to use OpenDNS's dns servers: 208.67.222.222 208.67.220.220 alternatively you could also use some of my favorite quicky servers: 4.2.2.1 4.2.2.2 (level3). These will be typically either set on the DHCP settings or on the router's wan IP settings page.

QoS: For those using a router that supports QoS, make sure it's not throttling or lowering priority for HTTP/HTTPS. Some models of routers will put HTTP/HTTPS traffic over a certain speed into the lowest priority queue and this may interrupt your experience if say your PC kicks off a background update of its OS or Virus scan etc. Alternatively depending on your setup, you may put in a DHCP reservation for your player and set its IP to always be a higher priority.

Firewall: The documented ports required by the Roku are TCP: HTTP/HTTPS (80/443) UDP: DNS (53, if you give out public IP's via DHCP) ICMP: ALL (Some users of Smoothwall have found that if their firewall/gateway blocks ICMP on the private side that they are unable get connected.)

MORE TO COME! I need a break.[/url]
-Seth
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251 Replies
ram1009
Level 7

Re: FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

What is NAT and why don't I want to be double NATed? Sounds like fun.
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gwhite1
Level 7

Nice post....

I appreciate the work!
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midiwall
Level 7

Re: FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

"ram1009" wrote:
What is NAT and why don't I want to be double NATed? Sounds like fun.

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_ad ... ranslation

Network Address Translation is what keeps your computer safe from folks on the outside poking directly at your machine. It's the masking of the hard network address that your ISP is handing you and creating the "192.168.x.x" addresses that folks are more familiar with.

Without it, then your PC would be _directly_ on the Internet and I'd have a pretty good chance of running your printer out of paper - or worse.

Double NAT'd is bad 'cause of the confusion and overhead and mess that it can cause in the routing layer of the protocol. Explaining that deeper will require cracking open the TCP headers and pointing to things in hex. I'm guessing you probably don't want that level of detail. Smiley Happy



(and GREAT work Shawn (?))
:: Mark
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devrdander
Level 7

Re: FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

"ram1009" wrote:
What is NAT and why don't I want to be double NATed? Sounds like fun.


NAT is Network Address Translation. In some cases being "Double NATed" isn't a problem, in others it will cause issues. Some Tunneling or TCP connections will fail when being NAT'd twice due to the way it translates, if you really want to know more about NAT you can read about it on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_ad ... #Drawbacks

In my experience as a network engineer, users behind two devices performing NAT in series have had issues establishing a VPN connection, getting some SSL websites to load properly, Watching Steaming Video, playing various online games, or even building an SSH tunnel.
-Seth
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ram1009
Level 7

Re: FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

Hey, thanks to both you guys. I'm learning more here that I ever did from "Networks For Dummies". Please don't stop now. I'll be watching my e-mail all day.
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itsmeblake
Level 7

Airport base station and mac os x ?

need help configuring this setup: airport base station (white mushroom) - linksys befsr41 - dsl modem. I was able to connect wired and update roku software, but i cannot connect via wireless. called support twice but they couldn't help much, they did say there has been other users with same white airport base station having the same issue... can anyone out there help? thanks in advance.

*all other wireless devices connect with no problems or extra settings...

**tech support mentioned something about allowing dhcp and the mac address i tried a few things in the airport admin utility but no luck. one of you network gurus out there please help if you can.
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devrdander
Level 7

Re: FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

Added some more information in regards to router configuration...
-Seth
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RokuGreg
Level 7

Re: network setup

Great info Seth! Thanks for taking the time to do this, myself and the others at Roku really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

RokuGreg
Director of Hardware Engineering
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Highlighted
ram1009
Level 7

Re: FAQ: Networking 101 and your Roku Player

Don't stop now!!!
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