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Roku WiFi Weirdness (1 Viewer)

Scott Merryfield

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I ran into a strange problem with a Roku Express at my mother's condo, and was wondering if anyone had any ideas about the issue. She has a Roku Express, 1080p display, and a Comcast Xfinity Internet service with a provided cable modem / router / wifi box. All devices are on the same TV stand in her living room. She also has a Nest thermostat (2.4GHz wifi), Amazon Echo Dot (5GHz wifi) and Kindle ereader (2.4GHz) -- all in the same room. Plus my Android phone (5GHz) connects to her wifi when I am there.

A couple of months ago, she was having an issue with her Roku Express, where it would fail to connect to her WiFi. Since all other WiFi devices worked fine, and rebooting the router and Roku repeatedly did not resolve the issue, my initial conclusion was that the WiFi in the Roku had somehow failed. I proceeded to get another Roku Express, installed the device, and it worked fine for a few months.

She recently began having some issues again. I went over this past weekend, and the new Roku Express was having the same issue failing to connect to her wireless network. Once again, I repeatedly rebooted the router and Roku without any luck. All other wireless devices continued to work fine. I used the Xfinity app on my phone to check her router, and test connectivity to all the other wireless devices. Everything checked out fine.

I ended up taking over an old original model Roku Ultra 4K that I had replaced with a Dolby Vision model at our house. This model has an ethernet interface as well as wireless, so I connected the Ultra directly to the router with an ethernet patch cable. So, I have a solution that works for her, although the Ultra 4K is overkill for her setup.

I am still curious as to what could be causing the issue with the Express, though. Since the issue has occurred with two different units, I am ruling out a hardware failure with the Roku. The only two things I can think of is either the Roku is too close to the router (but why would it work for months), or there is some sort of channel interference on the 2.4GHz band (but then the Nest thermostat should also be affected).

Anyone have any other thoughts or ideas?
 
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dpippel

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That's a weird problem, Scott. The inconsistency of the Express working and then not working is what bugs me. One thing you might try if the Xfinity modem/router allows it, although it's a long shot, would be to assign a static IP address to the Roku. It's possible that something funky is going on with DHCP on the modem dishing out an address to it. You'd have to log into the modem with a web browser and hit its admin page (usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1). The default username and password can sometimes be found on a sticker on the device, or you can Google it.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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That's a weird problem, Scott. The inconsistency of the Express working and then not working is what bugs me. One thing you might try if the Xfinity modem/router allows it, although it's a long shot, would be to assign a static IP address to the Roku. It's possible that something funky is going on with DHCP on the modem dishing out an address to it. You'd have to log into the modem with a web browser and hit its admin page (usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1). The default username and password can sometimes be found on a sticker on the device, or you can Google it.
Thanks for the suggestion, Doug. DHCP was not something I had considered. It seems unlikely, but at this point whatever the issue is will probably be unlikely, since I have ruled out the likely causes.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Is the router firmware up to date?
Not sure. It was provided by Comcast. It's an older model, but the same model that I used to have in our home before Comcast upgraded ours, and has only been installed for less than a year. They are still using the older models for customers with lower bandwidth -- my Mom only has 75Mbps download speed, while we have a 600Mbps (or maybe it's 700Mbps now) dl speed. FYI, I never had an issue like this with any Roku model (including the Express) at our house in the many years I had the older model router, and I never upgraded the firmware. I am not even sure if it can be upgraded by the customer. If I have time, I can check when I'm over there next week to help her put up her Christmas tree.
 

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