Buffering is caused when the STB is not receiving consistent Internet bandwidth. Here are some things that can cause this lack of consistent bandwidth or bandwidth distortion:
- Insufficient internet speed from provider (must be a consistent 1.5 Mbps connection)
- Firewalls (SPI firewall)
- Attack Detection Systems (ADS)
- Blocked ports
- Certain wireless channels/modes
- Wireless device distance/location (low LQ)
- Incompatible ISP
- Incompatible hardware (modem/router)
- The STB is not pointed to the best Server
- Voice over Internet Protocol Telephone (VOIP)
- Wireless Phone Interference (2.4 GHZ phones)
Buffering is most commonly fixed by the following steps:
1. Verifying that you are receiving a consistent speed above 1.5 Mbps.
2. Verifying that you are pointed toward the best server.
3. Verifying that all firewalls/ADS are disabled.
4. Verifying that your wireless settings are optimized (on G-only and Channel 4, 9, or 11).
5. Verifying that you are using a compatible ISP and modem/router combination.
6. Verifying that if you have VOIP, it is connected properly.
7. Verifying that the buffering only occurs when the microwave is on.
8. Verifying that there is no buffering when the wireless phones are unplugged.
NOTE: If you are able, please directly connect your service and remove the antenna you’re your STB—this will eliminate the vast majority of buffering issues because your service will no longer be affected by mode, channel, or any other wireless interference.
Verify that the Customer is Receiving a Constant 1.5 Mbps
There are several ways to verify your speed:
1. Verify the your ISP—If you have dial-up, Wi-Fi, or satellite internet, your service is going to buffer excessively because of generally lower speeds, bandwidth caps, and the way in which these services work.
2. Verify the customer’s STB speed (and LQ if the STB is wireless). This test will give you a general idea of what the customer’s speed is going to be (this speed can test low due to a variety of factors). If the STB is wireless, verify that the LQ is above 60 and is unobstructed.
3. Verify the bandwidth speed through the internet using www.speedtest.net or www.speakeasy.net/speedtest, checking the different server cities (NY, D, and PA).
Verify that the Customer is Pointed Toward the Best Server
Please call our contact center for more information.
Verify that all Firewalls/ADS are Disabled
If problems persist after the simple solutions have been exhausted, it is possible that it is a firewall issue. Many routers and modems have these built in. Follow the directions in the Modem/Router Configuration chapter to learn how to log in to the routers and change their settings.
Verify that the Customer’s Wireless Settings are Optimized
There are three main types of wireless bands that our customers will have: B-only, G-only, N-only. Many modems and routers contain mixed modes of these combinations as well. Many times these varying bands will play havoc with our STB and cause the wireless signal to become choppy and suffer packet loss—thus causing the STB to buffer. For more information on wireless routers, please see Wireless Router Setup.
- B-Routers: These routers are older models and work best hardwired. If used wirelessly, the signal seems to cause our STB to buffer normally.
- G-Routers: These routers work the best with our current STB and provide the most consistent signal. Most G-Routers start off as B/G Mixed and this will work for the majority of our customers. If these customers do start to have a buffering issue, usually a change to G-only will fix their buffering problems.
- N-Routers: Once your STB upgrades to 2.5.0, these routers should work fine so long as you have either G/B Mixed, G-only, or G/B/N Mixed. You will want to verify that you have disabled all firewalls and ADS in these types of routers.
- Wireless Channels: Wireless channel options impact how the wireless signal travels through the air. If wireless phones or microwaves are on the same frequency as the wireless internet signal, the signal will become choppy, thus creating packet loss and buffering. We generally recommend Channel 9, 11, or 4 as most STBs seem to work best on these channels.
DMZ stands for demilitarized zone. It is a technique that allows the customer to bypass most modem/router security. It is set to a specific IP address and must match the IP address on the STB. This technique is useful only in rare occasions to fix buffering.
This is a technique that for all intents and purposes transforms your router into your modem. This allows the internet signal to bypass any security that may cause buffering in the modem. If you have tried all other troubleshooting and a Sky Angel Tech Associate has deemed you’re your modem needs to be bridged to the router, please contact your ISP to bridge your modem to your router.
Verify your using a Compatible ISP and Modem/Router Combination
Some ISPs work better with our service than others—please refer to the Recommended ISP list and/or ISP Bandwidth Cap List.
Some modems/routers work better with our service than others—please refer to the Recommended Modem/Router List.
Verify that VOIP is Optimally Connected
The STB does not work well if it has to collect information sent through other information—for instance, if the internet signal is sent through VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) (an internet telephone service) buffering can result. The way to fix this issue is to place the VOIP router on the outside of the network that Sky Angel will operate in, or simply connect it into the router. For example, you will connect the modem to the router and then the VOIP to the router. The Sky Angel will then connect through the router.
This setup places the VOIP device on the outside of the network the STB will use, thus Sky Angel’s signal will NOT have to go through the VOIP device.
Basically, by switching the way we physically connect a VOIP system together, we can bypass some issues that cause roadblocks to our service. This is NOT true for all systems, as some devices operate differently, but from testing, this shows to be a option in the case the VOIP system is causing issues with Sky Angel service.
Verify there is no Wireless Interference
Sometimes microwaves and/or wireless phones can cause wireless interference. Make sure that when the microwave is not in use or that when the phones are unplugged that the customer does not have buffering. If the STB still has buffering, there is another reason at fault.
What if Nothing Works?
If your programming continues to buffer constantly, please contact our customer service center for more help. Please remember that your programming will buffer occasionally, but it should never buffer all the time.