Your Roku player streams video and music from the internet to your TV. In order for this to work reliably, you need a good network connection from your Roku OS device (Roku player, Streaming Stick, or Roku TV) to the internet. There are two main parts to this:
In your home, your Roku device will connect to your “router”. This is also referred to as your home network, or sometimes your wireless network, or sometimes just “Wi-Fi”. This support article provides tips on how to make this connection.
Your router will connect to the outside world (the Internet) with a broadband service provided by your ISP (your cable or phone company).
Wireless vs. Ethernet
All Roku devices have the ability to connect to your router wirelessly. Some Roku devices also have an Ethernet jack. Ethernet uses a cable to connect. If you have Ethernet, and it is convenient to connect, you should use it. It is very reliable and fast. However, most Roku devices use a wireless connection because most homes aren’t wired for Ethernet.
This support article focuses on how to solve wireless connection problems.
Are you having this problem?
Below are some example screens you might see if your Roku player is unable to connect to your home router via your wireless network:
In addition to simply not working, sometimes your wireless connection is just weak. In this case, symptoms might be poor video quality or excessive rebuffers. Some of the tips in this article will help with these problems as well - although these problems may also be caused by other issues.
Also see: Tips for improving the wireless connection on your Roku player or Roku TV
If you are having problems connecting to your wireless network, follow these steps:
1. Do you know the correct name for your wireless network and your password? Selecting the wrong wireless network or entering the password incorrectly will cause your wireless network connection to fail. If you think you know your wireless password, but it’s not working, try re-entering it. It’s easy to make a mistake entering your password. If you can’t find the correct wireless network name (also called an SSID) or the password, contact customer support for the company that set up your router, or the company that manufactured your router.
2. Do you have a strong enough wireless signal? If your password is correct, but you are still failing to connect to your wireless network, the most likely problem is “signal strength”. The wireless radio signal gets weaker the farther your Roku device is from your router. Also, the more obstacles (like walls, cabinets) there are between your router and your Roku device, the weaker your signal becomes. This problem is sometimes difficult to solve, but here are the ways you might be able solve it:
a: First, power cycle both your wireless router and your Roku player (un-plug them, wait 5 seconds, and plug them back in). This will eliminate a whole class of problems that sometimes happen. Retry your wireless setup on your Roku device. If it still fails, try the next step.
b: Try moving your Roku player or wireless router.
- If you can move them closer, the signal will get stronger.
- If you can move them such that there are fewer objects and walls between them, the signal will get stronger.
- Perhaps you can try moving the Roku device closer temporarily, in order to verify that the signal strength is the problem.
- Try re-orienting the wireless router’s antennas.
- Try moving either your Roku player or your router just a few inches or feet – sometimes this can make a difference.
- Try moving your wireless router higher up.
- Try moving your Roku player higher up.
- If your Roku player is in a cabinet, take it out.
- If the TV is between your Roku player and the wireless router, try moving the Roku player so that the TV is not blocking the wireless radio signal.
- If you are using a Roku Streaming Stick, try moving it away from your TV by using our free HDMI extender cable.
- If none of these work, try the next step.
3. Is Ethernet an option? This may not be practical but it’s worth mentioning. In some cases, if you have a Roku device with an Ethernet jack, you might be able to run an Ethernet cable. Even if your house isn’t “wired for Ethernet”, almost all home routers have a few Ethernet jacks. You just have to figure out how to get a long Ethernet cable (you can get it at Fry’s or Best Buy) from your Roku player to your router. Or Ethernet might be a temporary solution to verify that the wireless connection is your real problem.
4. If the wireless connection issue is because the signal is not strong enough, and none of the above work, you are left with these options:
- Move your Roku device to a different TV that is closer to your wireless router.
- Purchase a new wireless router that has a stronger signal – routers do vary considerably in their quality. Because they are not all the same, search for Internet reviews to identify a good quality router.
- Purchase a “mesh network” router – such as Eero.
- Call someone you know who is geeky to help.
- Return your Roku device for a refund if within the 30-day return window of most retailers.