Nothing puts a damper on a streaming session like a poor wireless connection, so we’re here to offer our best tips to get you streaming happily on your Roku player or Roku TV. Before you call your ISP or pull your hair out, try these steps to improve your wireless internet connection.

1. Check your wireless signal strength

Let’s start off with a common tip. If you’re seeing a loading screen or video buffering checking your internet speed is a good place to start. Your Roku device provides information on the strength of the wireless signal it’s receiving.

  • On your Roku device, go to Settings > Network
  • When connected, the signal strength will be shown on screen as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor

If you find that your internet speed is slower than expected, we recommend trying the tips outlined in this blog post. If issues persist after you’ve tried all of these steps, we recommend contacting your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to troubleshoot.

2. Change the location of your router

The location of the router in your home is crucial to having a strong connection throughout your home. Having the router as close to the middle of your home allows for an equal distribution of your wireless signal. If your router is in the corner of your home, half of your signal may be outside!

optimal-router-placement

You’ll also want to keep your router away from household devices like cordless phones or microwaves that may emit interference and reduce the wireless signal. If your router has an antenna, try adjusting it. Sometimes even a slight change in its angle can help.

Some of the same tips for your router location can be applied to your Roku player or Roku TV. You’ll want to make sure your Roku device is within range of your router and not on top of any other electronic devices like a cable box or DVD player. It’s also important that the front of your player is clear of obstructions, that it’s not enclosed in a cabinet or an enclosed area, and that it’s not sitting in direct sunlight.

If you have a Roku Express, you’ll want to make sure that you test the location of your player and make sure it will be within a line of sight with your remote before applying your adhesive strip.

3. Reduce traffic on your wireless network 

When possible, limit the use of other internet-connected devices on your network. Removing some other devices like phones, laptops, or game systems from your network could greatly increase your available bandwidth. If you must have multiple devices connected and you have a dual-band router, you can try moving your Roku player to a band all by itself. To do so, please refer to your router manufacturer’s website or manual.

4. Check your advanced router settings (firmware)

Manufacturers periodically make tweaks and optimizations to their software to boost performance and security, so it’s a good idea to make a habit of checking your router’s firmware on a regular basis. Most manufacturers make this a pretty simple process. For more information on how to update your firmware, please visit your router manufacturer’s website.

5. Change your wireless channel

To avoid interference with other wireless networks around you, especially if you live in a dense residential area, try changing the broadcast channel on your router. Channels 1, 6, and 11 are recommended as they have no overlapping frequencies. Better yet, if you have a dual-band router, you can move your Roku player to the 5GHz band. You can learn how to to do so by referring to your router manufacturer’s website.

6. Create a strong home network password

It’s crucial to have strong password protection on your router for security reasons but also to keep those pesky next-door neighbors from sucking up your bandwidth.

7. Get a wireless extender (Roku Streaming Stick only)

If you are having trouble with the connection on your Roku Streaming Stick, you can order a free HDMI extender cable to help improve wireless reception.

8. Consider a new router

If you have tried everything above and still aren’t satisfied with your wireless connection, it may be time to upgrade your router. If you purchased your router years ago, you may be stuck on an older wireless standard. You may want to consider purchasing a router with newer networking technology, like 802.11n or 802.11ac (available on the Roku 4, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, and Roku Ultra).

Happy streaming!

Posted in Roku tips | Tagged , , , |
17 Comments
  • unimike

    No mention of rebooting modem/router? That should be #2.

  • Half the problems with wireless network I’ve experienced are caused BY the Roku 3 I own because it always picks the same channel my router is on to connect to the wireless remote. If the Roku and the router are close enough, they cause poor connectivity. And this happens even though my Roku is connected via Ethernet! It’s been discussed a lot in the Roku forums and there’s no real solution except to get the Roku as far from the wireless router as possible.

    For this reason (and the RF noise-spewing wall wart), my Roku 3 stays unplugged 99% of the time.

    • Diane Jordan

      I have the same issues with my roku 3. It worked fine until cable company replaced my modem. I was disconnecting service, but keeping internet. The modem they had me hood up with was obsolete. I mentioned I owned my own router so the tech hooked up just the modem not modem router combo. From that day I started using my Roku hooked up with an ethernet cable instead of wifi. Ever since I’ve had the problems you are describing. My remote doesn’t work, I have to unplug my roku to reboot. I thought the tech had messed something up. Of course cable said it was my Roku. Even though it was working before he touched it. I’ve found if I use the remote from the app, it’ll work better. Maybe it will help you

  • grinlap

    “If you find that your internet speed is slower than expected…”

    The article is about wireless speeds on your local network. LANs are capable of much faster speeds than most consumers have to their ISP. Therefore the first thing you should do if you’re seeing a lot of buffering and pauses is to check your Internet speed using http://www.speedtest.net. This will give you a measure of the download and upload speed of your connection to your ISP. The download speed is the most important for streaming. Also, be sure to check this speed when you’re having the problem (you must stop the streaming during the test) and make sure nothing else is using your connection. I.E. none of the kids are in the other room gaming on their tablet. Slow Internet speeds during the “Netflix hours” is the primary cause of buffering. When everyone else is streaming your Internet speed might drop to half of what you signed up for. So check that first before your LAN.

  • Lydia Moreno

    I had problems with the Roku in the bedroom, the living room Roku was fine. After 5 or 6 customer service calls to Roku I was so frustrated. I put the living room Roku in the bedroom worked fine, put the bedroom Roku in the living room, didn’t work there either. Called Amazon they immediately replaced it. The new one worked fine for a whike then started acting up, I removed the HDMI extender and it’s been just fine, my conclusion it was the extender, customer service refused to in anyway say it was the Roku and never asked about the extender. Then had the audacity to say I couldn’t be pleased.

  • knowingisgrowing

    For what it’s worth, from my experience I can say it sometimes truly is dependent on the Roku, and the technology IT supports.
    I’ve got a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, which supports dual band and 5ghz. My roku 2xs didn’t, only single band, and thus, now and then the “bedroom buffers” occurred. Changing the channel did nothing, as it wasn’t a noise issue, just a technology and distance one.

    Having acquired the roku premium plus, and it’s supporting dual band 5ghz, I now get fantastic wireless performance, that honestly feels like Ethernet.

  • Rhonda Kelley

    Need Fandango account email address and password sent to me so I can enjoy my New Sharp RokuTV
    Thanks

  • phicrappazappa

    I LOVE ROKU (have 4 ROKUs). However, I found that even with great WIFI I had little to nothing, as my WIFI was being consumed by every “Smart” device I own. I went with an Ethernet Switch 24 ports, and connected it all to ethernet. BEST thing I’ve done for my ROKU. Lightening fast at ALL times.

    • ALFREDO GUTIERREZ

      Were you able to run Ethernet cable through the walls of your house or how exactly did you do it? I hope you don’t mind the questions. Thanks.

      • phicrappazappa

        You can get the tooling to install wall outlets at any big box store. The ethernet connector wall plates, as well as the Cat6 cable, I got on e-Bay.. My house is a ranch w/full basement, so the switchbox is downstairs. The overhead downstairs is completely accessible, so room to room is a snap.

        • Alfredo Gutierrez

          Unfortunately I don’t have a basement we have a cement floor and Adobe walls. I’ll have to figure out another way. Thanks for the info though.

      • 程肯

        I use Powerline adapters, that use your house’s wiring to transmit the signal. Works for me.

  • Doug Krysl

    My ROKU is still buffering, at times and it is connected to the router through an ethernet cable. Is this right? Should it be doing this? Please help.

  • billp

    Posting a question here since I can’t find a place to post one directly to Support.
    The Premier, Premier+ and Ultra specs say they support 802.11ac
    I have a DLink DIR-825 wireless router which supports 802.11a/b/g/n (802.11acisn’t mentioned).
    Will one of these Rokus mentioned work with my router ?

    Thanks

  • Chris Snow

    I love my Roku 4 but I am still getting quite a bit of slowdown when using YouTube. I’m using a wifi router that’s on 5 ghz and in the same room. Any thoughts as to why?

  • mr Dave

    The ONLY time I have buffering issues in while I’m watching Sling Tv. Everything else on my Roku 2016 stick is great. Is anyone else having issues?

  • mr Dave

    The ONLY time I have buffering issues in while I’m watching Sling Tv. Everything else on my Roku 2016 stick is great. Is anyone else having issues?