I just bought the Roku streaming stick for my parents place to supplement the cable box on one of the tv’s. The idea was that they would be able to easily connect it to the network and watch plex, netflix, etc.. in the course of under 10 minutes.

That was not the case….

First, I plugged this guy in. It’s boot time was over a minute, roughly 2-3 minutes actually. The Roku then first takes you through the prompts to setup your Wi-Fi network and update itself. As I tried to go through this simple process, I got a variable result in one of the following things happening:

  • Connection is fine and update starts, but fails
  • Connection is spotty and I get instructed to check my router
  • Connection passes but can’t contact the update servers

This continuously happened, no matter what I did, I could not get it to update. Trying to tether through my phone proved a winning solution and the Roku updated successfully.

So I figured, maybe the update will fix some stuff and this will be more stable. I was wrong. It turns out, there is a lingering issue with Roku’s connecting to Comcast/Arris AP’s. There is discussion about this at various places and a possible solution here.

Ultimately, disabling pings on the local network via the “secret screen” seems to fix the problem for many, but it didn’t for me. I was able to connect to the gateway without issue, statistics looked fine, etc.. but nothing could actually get to the Internet (plex wouldn’t retrieve a code, Pandora just crashed, news stuffs wouldn’t load, etc..)

Finally, I decided to just take the little stick back anyways… It crashed two times in my short time using it and the menu proved to be pretty slow anyway. I wasn’t expecting a $40 device to be amazing, but it just wasn’t worth it to try and make it work.

Final Words

My parents have triple play so they just use the fancy Arris Comcast gives them. From what I hear, a lot of people will call and have Comcast put this gateway into bridge mode so they can connect their own Router/AP unit. I would highly recommend this as Comcast basically gives my parents zero control over their Arris, even handing them a piece of cardboard with their Wi-Fi password written in sharpie.

Mario Loria is a builder of diverse infrastructure with modern workloads on both bare-metal and cloud platforms. He's traversed roles in system administration, network engineering, and DevOps. You can learn more about him here.