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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chris006
Level 7

Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

My setup -> I have four TVs connected through various Roku Devices; 2 expresses (less than 1 year old), 1 Premiere (one month old), and 1 TCL Roku TV (about 3 years old).  All devices were purchased new from Best Buy and Walmart so they are newer models, I can pull the Model #'s if helpful.  I have 100Mbps from Fios running through the Fios Quantum Router (on latest version SW/Firmware).  Although wireless coverage was decent I recently added the Fios Extender to get strong coverage throughout the house, specifically to help with a sometimes weak signal in the basement (TCL Roku TV location).  Since I added the Extender, all Roku's receive a 'Strong' signal according to the network settings on the boxes & TV.  All Roku devices are currently connected through the wireless connection (none are hard wired through Ethernet)

My issue -> When I run speed tests through Okla and Verizon's own speed test utilities on my phone and laptop (through wireless) I receive 80+ Mbps consistently, usually speeds are between 95-100 Mbps.  This is after I connected the Extender.  I have tested both directly to the Quantum Router and from the Extender.  I was expecting some degradation through the Extender but have not seen that in the tests.  However, when I test speeds through the Roku devices using the Network Connection Check I am getting speeds between 3 - 13 Mbps depending on the time of day and different days I have tested.  This is across ALL Roku devices regardless of location and type.  Last night I had significant buffering watching ESPN with several times where the feed stopped and restarted.  When I checked the connection it was at 3 Mbps.  I tested my phone and laptop and both were showing speeds in the high 90's.  My biggest issue has been with the DTV Now App/service (probably because that is used the most) but I have also seen issues with Netflix and some of the network apps which we use less frequently.  I sometimes have issues with Netflix from my phone or the kids IPads but I have not had any issues running DTV Now from my phone.

Is there something I am missing.  A setting somewhere on the Roku or something within the router I need to change in order to get better connection to the Roku box?

My next step was going to be trying a hard wire Ethernet connection to the Roku Box however that will require a purchase of a Roku Ultra or some type of adapter (I have seen plenty for FireSticks but not many for Roku connections).  Then I though maybe its just a Roku issue and I may try a FireStick or FireTV box but I do not think have native YouTube apps and my kids use the Youtube app a fair amount so I would need two different boxes/devices.  So trying to collect some data before I go in one direction or the other.

Happy to answer questions on my set up and connections.  Any help you can provide or experiences with your set ups is much appreciated!

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7 Replies
DBDukes
Level 9

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

"chris006" wrote:
My setup -> I have four TVs connected through various Roku Devices; 2 expresses (less than 1 year old), 1 Premiere (one month old), and 1 TCL Roku TV (about 3 years old).  All devices were purchased new from Best Buy and Walmart so they are newer models, I can pull the Model #'s if helpful.  I have 100Mbps from Fios running through the Fios Quantum Router (on latest version SW/Firmware).  Although wireless coverage was decent I recently added the Fios Extender to get strong coverage throughout the house, specifically to help with a sometimes weak signal in the basement (TCL Roku TV location).  Since I added the Extender, all Roku's receive a 'Strong' signal according to the network settings on the boxes & TV.  All Roku devices are currently connected through the wireless connection (none are hard wired through Ethernet)

My issue -> When I run speed tests through Okla and Verizon's own speed test utilities on my phone and laptop (through wireless) I receive 80+ Mbps consistently, usually speeds are between 95-100 Mbps.  This is after I connected the Extender.  I have tested both directly to the Quantum Router and from the Extender.  I was expecting some degradation through the Extender but have not seen that in the tests.  However, when I test speeds through the Roku devices using the Network Connection Check I am getting speeds between 3 - 13 Mbps depending on the time of day and different days I have tested.  This is across ALL Roku devices regardless of location and type.  Last night I had significant buffering watching ESPN with several times where the feed stopped and restarted.  When I checked the connection it was at 3 Mbps.  I tested my phone and laptop and both were showing speeds in the high 90's.  My biggest issue has been with the DTV Now App/service (probably because that is used the most) but I have also seen issues with Netflix and some of the network apps which we use less frequently.  I sometimes have issues with Netflix from my phone or the kids IPads but I have not had any issues running DTV Now from my phone.

Is there something I am missing.  A setting somewhere on the Roku or something within the router I need to change in order to get better connection to the Roku box?

My next step was going to be trying a hard wire Ethernet connection to the Roku Box however that will require a purchase of a Roku Ultra or some type of adapter (I have seen plenty for FireSticks but not many for Roku connections).  Then I though maybe its just a Roku issue and I may try a FireStick or FireTV box but I do not think have native YouTube apps and my kids use the Youtube app a fair amount so I would need two different boxes/devices.  So trying to collect some data before I go in one direction or the other.

Happy to answer questions on my set up and connections.  Any help you can provide or experiences with your set ups is much appreciated!

Most likely, it's an app/service issue. Testing the app on another device won't necessarily tell you much. Major content services use different servers to serve to different devices. That is, your iPhone could be getting content from one server, you computer from another, and your Roku from another. So, if the iPhone/iOS-particular servers are experiencing heavy usage, you may not see any issue on your computer or you Roku. And, vice-versa.

No Ethernet adapters for Roku. It comes with it or it doesn't. I have no personal experience with Roku TV, but others have reported the ability to add one to some of those.

I'm not currently using DirecTV Now -- I only subscribe to live TV services part of the time -- I don't usually use the service because live streaming from those apps -- true for me with Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV -- because they aren't stable. Or haven't been. I use the service to authenticate against the various apps. For example, I'll authenticate the ESPN app with the service and use it. Same for anything else I might want to watch using the service.

Of course, the way I use TV might not be good for you and your situation. To me, it's easier to go to the Roku home screen and launch an app than it is to find the channel in DirecTV Now (or Sling TV, or YouTube TV, or whatever). So, I do it that way. I don't watch nor care about the channels I don't watch, and they're just clutter in the DirecTV (or Sling TV or whatever) app. I only keep the apps I care about on Roku.

As for your WiFi reception, you're using the 2.4 GHz band for those devices (they don't support 5 GHz). Check your channel on your router. It's likely set to 6, 1, or 11. Auto often picks 6, but you'd need to check to be sure in your situation. Try changing to one of the other ones. For me, 11 works best at one location, and 1 at another. Although 6 may be best for you. It depends on what's around you.

While 2.4 GHz is generally slower than 5 GHz (which you can't use with those Roku devices), the range is often better. Trade offs. Still, that won't cause issues. Just mentioning it so you won't go down that path. 2.4 GHz should be just fine.
DBDukes
http://www.dbdukes.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Roku Premiere+ (3921)
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chris006
Level 7

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

Thank you for the response.  I made a few changes last night including your recommendation to change the auto setting and set the channel to a specific #.  I also turned off QoS based on a recommendation from a coworker.   Then I updated the network names so I could decipher between devices on 5Ghz versus 2.4Ghz.  After rebooting the router I was seeing speeds in the high teens and as high as 21Mbps on the Roku devices.  Other devices continue to see much faster speeds in the 90's.  That did break the connection to some other devices (ipads, Alexa, and my wife's computer) but that was easy enough to remedy this morning.

Going to keep an eye on the speeds to see if it stays stable.  I still feel that I should be getting speeds in the 30's or 40's at least but maybe I am asking too much of the network and Roku.  I was thinking of upping to a Gigabit connection a few days back if I could not resolve but based on the results so far I feel like that would not help my Roku streaming situation and be a waste of time and money.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

A couple of items to note. I've never found a Roku that reports an Internet speed as fast as actually measured on a computer. No idea why, but they never report accurately. Also, a wired Roku only has a Fast Ethernet connection (100 Mbps), so Gigabit Internet won't mean much to it. Now using WiFi, particularly 802.11ac, the Roku in theory should support speeds much faster than Fast Ethernet. But we really have no idea what a Roku player can support using even the fastest protocols. Remember that the different flavors of 802.11 offer maximum potential speeds, but not every device supports that speed. However, every Roku is primarily designed from streaming from the Internet, and there aren't any online sources that stream above 20 Mbps to my knowledge. Netflix tops out at 16 Mbps with 2160 content, and Amazon and Vudu are in the same range. 
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I personally never consider a faster Internet connection as a waste of money  Smiley Very Happy. There are many times that more speed is nice, but online streaming isn't one of them above a particular speed. 25 Mbps is what I consider minimum Internet speed for a decent experience. However, the faster the connection the less impact online streaming will have on any other devices also using the Internet at the same time. 
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.
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marcroc
Level 7

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

I will tell you this. I have had Roku hooked up directly via ethernet. I get speeds of 70 - 80 Mbps.
That being said on Directv NOW,  ESPN will buffer. All other channels work flawlessly. Netflix no problem.
But ESPN will be completely erratic. Sometimes play for 5 minutes and then buffer for 5 seconds. Sometimes will play 30 seconds and buffer for 5 seconds.
I have restarted / re-installed, you name it.
Kind of annoying when someone is about to nail the hole on a flyer in the Cornhole Championship!

Just kidding about the cornhole.
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

"marcroc" wrote:
I will tell you this. I have had Roku hooked up directly via ethernet. I get speeds of 70 - 80 Mbps.
That being said on Directv NOW,  ESPN will buffer. All other channels work flawlessly. Netflix no problem.
But ESPN will be completely erratic. Sometimes play for 5 minutes and then buffer for 5 seconds. Sometimes will play 30 seconds and buffer for 5 seconds.
I have restarted / re-installed, you name it.
Kind of annoying when someone is about to nail the hole on a flyer in the Cornhole Championship!

Just kidding about the cornhole.

That would point to a problem with the app/channel. So DirecTV needs to work on their app. I would suggest contacting them and provide your feedback. 
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.
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chris006
Level 7

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

I have noticed the same with ESPN on DirecTVNow. During the Duke/UNC game the other night it would buffer every few minutes. I switched to the ESPN app and watched the rest of the game with no issues. Now I just watch ESPN from the app versus DTVNow. I have noticed a similar issue with other channels on DTVNow but not nearly as much as ESPN channels.
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nolaghost
Level 7

Re: Roku running slow compared to other internet devices

I'm not sure if wiring your Rokus will help or not. I've had some frustrations with my Ultra when it was connecting through Wi-Fi, especially with Netflix.
I, then, bought a really beefy router (a Netgear X10 R9000) and that didn't eliminate the problem. Then, I wired Roku to the router and still have buffering issues.

The wild thing that I'm still seeing is that when I test the internet connection from Roku, it can be 2Mb sometimes and 78Mb other times. My cable internet connection is 100mb.

In other words, you're definitely not the only one with such crazy problems here, unfortunately.

Wish I could help more, but just wanted to mention that hard-wiring a Roku doesn't necessarily make problems go away.
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