Why Is My Sky Q Mini Box Not Working?
There is no denying that Sky Q is a great system and perhaps the best part for me is the fact is that the new version of Sky multi-room (called Multiscreen) now connects wireless. This means that if you have Sky boxes in more than one room, it’s no longer necessary to install coax cables from your satellite dish all over your house as it’s just the main Sky Q box that requires a connection to your satellite dish. But, there can be problems with this new set up. In this article we discuss what could be the cause of your Sky mini-box not working or connection issues you may be experiencing, together with tips and advice to hopefully assist you in fixing these problems. Let’s begin!
Sky Q Wireless Connection
Before we progress I think it will be helpful to discuss how the Sky Q wireless connection works between the main Sky Q box and the mini-boxes. I have already written an article on how Sky Q works so I will keep this brief here.
The main Sky Q box is connected to a wideband LNB with two separate coax cables (1 cable for dSCR systems). As there is no switching at the LNB as there was was previous Sky systems. The same connections can be used to feed to multiple satellite tuners. You do not need separate satellite connections for every Sky box.
The Sky box is connected to your broadband router. This is essential for Sky Q multi-room with the mini-boxes but not always necessary if you just have the main Sky Q box.
The Sky Q box connects over a 5Ghz mesh network to the mini-boxes. This allows the mini-boxes to be assigned an IP address.
5Ghz Mesh Network
As mentioned above, the Sky Q system works over a 5Ghz mesh network. The mini-boxes connect wireless to your main Sky Q box, not to your WIFI. This means that all boxes need to be within the range of the main box or another Sky Q product. As with all wireless systems, you can run into trouble when you are beyond the range of the wireless signal which may cause the signal to drop out or not connect at all. Most WIFI systems use 2.4Ghz, but 5Ghz is also used for some of the later WIFI standards and faster connection/ internet speeds. The problem with using the higher frequency band is that the range within buildings is not as far as the lower 2.4Ghz range, meaning the larger the house or the more walls the wireless connection needs to pass through the more likely you are to run into trouble. The mini-boxes are easily set up using an WPS push button connection.
Sky Q Mini Box Ethernet Connection
The mini-boxes can also be connected via an Ethernet connection as they come with a built in RJ45 connector on the rear. This is perfect for large properties where you may struggle with the wireless connection. I know this is gets away from the benefit of not having to install cabling throughout your house, but from a signal and connection perspective, it’s more it is congruent with my “wireless for things that move, wires for things that don’t” philosophy. It’s also very advantageous to have home network data cabling installed as this has many other uses. The cabling that needs to be installed is not coaxial cable like that which connects to the satellite dish. It is twisted-pair data cabling like Cat5e/ Cat6/ Cat6a or Cat7 cable. ‘Cat’ stands for ‘category’ and the higher the number the higher rates of data the cable can carry. It's not uncommon to just use the term "Cat5" when referring to this type of cabling. The minimum spec of cable that is installed is Cat5e, but I personally install Cat6 cable as standard now due to there not being much of a difference in price between Cat 5 and Cat6. Like coax cabling, the data cabling can be installed on the exterior of property, but you need to make sure that you have a ‘UV stable’ exterior data cable to do this. You buy data cables pre-terminated in all sorts of lengths or you can buy the cable and connectors and install these yourself. This requires a specialist crimping tool and can be fiddly if you haven’t done this before but does allow you to cut the cable to the exact right length and makes routing of the cable far easier. When setting up for an Ethernet connection, you may need to access to hidden installer menu on the Sky Q box to set up a wired connection.
Network Connection Between Sky Q & Mini Box
If you intend to connect your mini-box with a hard-wired internet connection. It’s important that the cable needs to connect between your Sky Q main box and your mini-box, not to your LAN. It’s fine to connect between network switches or via the Ethernet ports on your internet router but if this is the case both the Sky Q and the mini-box both need to be connected via Ethernet to the network. The only exception to this is if your are using a Sky router then the main box can be connected via WIFI and the mini-box cabled back to your internet router. The wireless repeaters can also be connected via Ethernet for a hybrid solution.
If it is not possible to install additional cabling throughout your house, Powerline Adapters can also be used to good effect. These send/receive data down the existing mains electrical cable and ring main (or ring final circuit for any electricians that may be reading) . I recommend reading our previous blog – Powerline Adapters, All You Need To Know for more information on this but one potential caveat is that the adapters need to be installed on the same electrical circuit which isn’t always the case.
How Many Sky Mini Boxes Can I Connect?
You can connect up to four Sky Q mini-boxes with Sky Q. Each mini box at the time of writing this is an additional £12 per month on your monthly subscription. There was talk of having up to 7 mini boxes fed from one main box but this hasn’t materialised yet. If you have a Sky Q 1TB box you can watch Sky TV on two TV screens at the same time, plus be able to watch Sky TV on one smart phone or tablet. If you have the Sky Q 2TB Box you can watch Sky Q on three TV’s at one time, plus be able to stream on a further two devices. Obviously if you try to exceed the amount of boxes you can have, or the amount your subscribe for it isn't going to work property.
Sky Q Mini Boxes Installed Behind Wall Mounted TV’s
One of the cool things that you can do with the new mini-boxes is, as they are so slim they can usually easily slot behind wall mounted TV’s without having to stand the TV that much away from the wall allowing you to get TV flush with wall. Although not impossible, this wasn’t always practical with previous Sky versions. With mini-boxes all that needs to be connected is the power and the HDMI cable. As the HDMI feeds to the TV, the only TV cable that needs to be hidden/ managed is the power cable (read this for tips on hiding TV cables). One potential downside however is that with the mini-box pressed between the wall and the TV, this may impede the wireless signal a bit. In which case, you may be better suited to hard-wire the box in this situation.
Things To Try When Sky Mini Box Is Not Working
1- Check the main Sky Q box. If this is working fine, you know there is an issue with the connection between the Sky Q main box and the mini-boxes. If there is a ‘no signal message’ on the main box too, this means that the problem is to do with the Sky signal from the satellite dish or the main box itself is faulty.
2- Check the network settings within the main Sky box. There should be a tick next to the network connection. If there isn’t, this is likely the problem as if the main box isn’t connected to the router. It won’t be able to assign an IP address to the mini-box(es). Re-connect to your WIFI or Ethernet. If neither work, it’s likely you have a problem with your broadband connection and may need to contact your service provider, but try testing on other devices on your network first and/ or power cycling the internet router itself first!
3- If being obstructed by any way, try moving your Sky Q mini-box out into the open so the signal isn’t being restricted by anything. This may mean removing it from inside a cabinet or from behind a TV.
4- Install Ethernet cable/ wireless repeater. If you have tested the above, it’s likely that the wireless connection between between Sky Q products is poor. You have a couple of options here. You can install a wireless repeater between your Sky Q and mini-box or hard-wire the connection altogether, I personally prefer the latter. Sky provide the wireless repeaters and they are strategically positioned in a place that has a good signal from the main box and a good signal to the slave mini-box. This is usually somewhere in the middle.
Sky Q Mini Box Issues & Connection Questions
I hoped you liked this article, for those that follow my blog sorry for leaving this one so long. If you have any comments or questions, please do post them within the Blog Comments section below. Providing you are patient, I endeavour to answer all of these personally myself and I try to help if I can. I must stress the following as I cannot help you this way.
1- Please do not call our telephone lines with comments or questions. We do not have the time, staff, motivation, and patience to provide over the phone free technical advice/ support. We are a small business serving the South East UK only.
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Until next time,
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