How to Fix Sky Q Connectivity Problems
Sky Q is a brilliant new TV platform, using Wi-Fi to pump content all around your house. If you’ve been having a few problems with the system cutting out, then we’re here to help with our guide to getting the most out of the system.
In this guide, we’ll take you through what to do to get the most out of your Sky Q Mini and tablet streaming devices, plus show you how to properly set up Ethernet streaming if you need it (you shouldn’t). Before we get into the real details, it’s worth explaining how the system works, as in my experience, and from seeing advice on forum threads, the problems are largely caused by the wrong changes being made to a system. This is because any changes to Sky Q setup can cause issues with, or bypass completely, the mesh network used for streaming. I’ll explain why the problems can occur, but on the other pages of this article, I explain how to properly configure your Sky Q system. Read the explanations below, but you can also jump straight to the article you’re interested in.
How Sky Q’s networking works
Sky Q uses a 5GHz mesh network for video streaming to Sky Q Mini boxes. A mesh network means that, in the system, every Sky Q device (main box, Mini boxes and boosters) acts as a booster, but it’s the system that finds the most efficient and fastest way of transmitting data: your Sky Q Mini box in the bedroom, for example, might send its signal to a Sky Q Booster, which then sends it to the main box.
Mesh networks are often slower than a traditional network, but add reliability and boost overall coverage. For Sky Q, the latter points are the most important, as you only need enough bandwidth to stream HD and reliability is more important than speed. How the mesh network works depends on whether you have Sky broadband and a Sky Q hub, or a regular broadband connection. Please be wary of advice about disabling the 2.4GHz network, though.
You don’t have Sky broadband
If you don’t have Sky broadband or a Sky Q hub, your system works in a slightly different way. Your Sky Q Silver box connects to your router via 2.4GHz, to ensure that it works with every system. This means that download speeds to your Sky Q box are limited by the quality of your wireless network. All Sky Q Mini boxes also connect to your 2.4GHz network, which might seem a bit wrong. After all, aren’t they supposed to be 802.11ac 5GHz devices?
The answer is yes, but what you can’t see is that there’s also a 5GHz Sky mesh network running in the background, which is used for streaming. The 2.4GHz network connection to your router acts more as a backup, so a problem with 5GHz means that your boxes can continue streaming; however, in a properly functioning system all streaming should take place over 5GHz.
As robust as this system is, problems start to occur if you want to make changes. One of the most common ones is that people think that their Mini boxes are connected to a 2.4GHz network, so reset them, only to find that they can’t see their existing 5GHz network. This is entirely normal, as your existing 5GHz network doesn’t have the Quality of Service (QoS) or mesh networking abilities that Sky Q needs. This is why a hidden network is created.
The next mistake is that Mini boxes are then connected directly to the 2.4GHz network, as there seems to be no other option. Doing this joins the Mini to your 2.4GHz network only, and makes streaming unreliable and prone to interference.
A secondary problem is deciding to connect your main Sky box via Ethernet, as this can interfere with your mesh network. If you decide to use Ethernet from your main box, you need to properly configure your entire system again. This will disable 2.4GHz network connections, forcing the rest of the system to use the 5GHz band.
You have Sky broadband with the Sky Q Hub
If you’ve got the Sky Q Hub, your router also acts as part of the mesh network, and you get an additional feature: your Mini boxes act as Wi-Fi hotspots, repeating the same network name around your house and improving coverage. With this system, both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks have the same name.
One common problem is that people split the wireless networks, using the option in the Sky Q Hub’s networking settings, so that they can physically choose which network to join: the 5GHz network has less range, but is considerably faster. However, doing this causes problems, as it breaks down the mesh network and can force Sky Q Mini boxes to connect via 2.4GHz networks. For a stable system, you have to use the default settings.
While this does mean you can’t choose which network to connect to (2.4GHz or 5GHz), the system is supposed to intelligently choose which network your device should connect to. Connecting your main box via Ethernet can also cause problems, as you have to properly reconnect all of your Mini boxes and Boosters to your network, so that the mesh network can be rebuilt.
Tablet devices and networking
If you’re streaming to tablets, you use your regular network connection and aren’t technically part of the mesh network. Any drop-outs or issues here will come purely down to the quality of your network connection and your network speed. If you’ve got Sky Broadband, you shouldn’t have problems, as all of the Mini boxes act as hotspots.