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.
Roku Express Does Not Reconnect to Public Wifi After Power Cycle
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I am testing a Roku Express with the RightNow Media app for a small group that meets once a week. The Roku is used in a school building, where it connects to public WiFi that does not require any credentials, no agreement to terms and conditions or anything like that. The network does do content filtering. Since our group is not part of the school district, we cannot connect to their private WiFi and we have no control over their router. When I connect the Roku to the public guest WiFi, I get the choice menu where I have to choose between Is this a hotel/dorm OR is this home.
When I select Home, the Roku will connect immediately and works, until it is powered down. The unit is installed on a media cart that sits unplugged in a storage cabinet most of the week. When it gets plugged back in on Sunday morning, the Roku does NOT automatically reconnect to the public WiFi. This means having to go through WiFi setup every time we meet. This is inconvenient, especially because the rest of the group does not appear to be very tech savvy.
When I select Hotel / Dorm, [This has been clarified by atc98092 below] the onscreen instructions tell me to connect to the Roku generated WiFi on a phone/tablet/laptop and to open a browser there to enter credentials. When I do that, the browser just connects to my regular home page. The browser does not open any page related to the Roku. I tried both Chrome and Safari browsers on a MacBook Air. I also tried this with an iPhone 6S and a Google Pixel 2 XL. In all cases I made sure to be connected to the Roku generated WiFi. Is there a URL I should be typing in the browser?
After seeing somewhere that reconnecting to a public wifi without credentials is a known issue, I bought a NetGear Range Extender and set up a local WiFi Bridge that creates a WPA2 protected network, thinking I could trick the Roku into thinking it was at a home. I connected the Roku to this protected network and it still asked me if this was a home or in a hotel/dorm. I selected home and it connected. However, once I power cycled the whole setup, the Roku did not reconnect to this protected WiFi network either (the range extender was up and running). I retried with selecting Hotel/Dorm and ended up in the same situation as above.
This is a proof of concept phase, if we can get it to work, we can enable several small groups this way. But if I can't get this to work soon, we'll have to try something else.
Any help is appreciated. Thanks for reading this and thinking about a potential solution.
Re: Roku Express Does Not Reconnect to Public Wifi After Power Cycle
The behavior you describe for the Hotel/Dorm function is accurate and as designed. You don't actually connect to the Roku with a web browser, you connect to the hotel (or dorm) login page, as any device does when connected to such wireless points. You then enter the required information and the Roku can then access the network and whatever device you used to authenticate is disconnected from the Roku.
If your public wireless doesn't require any authentication, then there's no reason to use the hotel function. Can't say for sure why it won't auto-reconnect. In my experience it will always reconnect to the last used network setting. But it won't reconnect if you've used some other network in the meantime. Even though it saves credentials for any wireless network it has connected to, it won't connect automatically to anything other than the last used connection.
Dan Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.