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Sky and routers

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,325
Thanks: 76
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Sky and routers

For some months now I've been having intermittent problems with my Sky reception, with picture break-up and serious pixelation, it can last for hours, or just a few seconds. I've blamed it on all sorts of things; stormy weather, rose bushes spreading in front of the dish (it was on a patio mount, but has recently been moved to the roof line with a much improved aspect with no obstructions at all) My local Satellite contractor/shop spent an hour yesterday (for £60) aligning the dish (it was very slightly out)
Oddly, it seems to be time based, from after 7-8 o'clock in the evening including overnight I don't ever recall having a problem until around mid-morning (but I don't usually watch TV all night)
It happens I was up very early this morning (04:30) and found that Sky was a complete no-go area, I couldn't get anything at all. Switching to the Services/System setup/Signal test option I sat and watched the signal quality bar flicking between zero and 75% (the signal strength bar stayed steady at 75%) the lock indicator flicked on and off in time with the quality bar. From 08:00 this morning there has been on problem.
A call to the Sat contractor/shop resulted in them having no idea what the problem might be, Sky were not having any problems, as an almost throw away comment I was asked if I had an internet router, which they thought can give odd problems. I do have a (Netgear) wireless dsl router, which by chance is located almost in line with the dish and the set-top box, other suggestions included background updates of the built in Freeview options of the TV and DVD recorder effecting the Sky signal (I'm not sure I buy that one, but the router sounds mildly plausible)
Has anybody else experienced a problem of this sort, and how did you overcome it?


Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
14 REPLIES
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Sky and routers

Had pretty similar problems and fitted one of these. (Also available from Maplin here.)
You need to fit it as close to the dish as possible.  You don't need a power supply as it runs from the power the Sky box delivers to the LNB.
It cured my problems!!!
HTH
Edit: 
It's highly unlikely to be your router or any other of the suggestions you've been given. 
The signal strength bar and the quality bar only measure the signal from one transponder.  The signal can be better or worse on other transponders (and hence channels on those transponders) meaning some channels won't be affected and some will.
If you're only getting a signal strength of 75% it suggests that you may have a longish cable run (or a bad connection somewhere if there are joins in the cable).  You could also have a bit of the outer braid contacting the central core wire at one of the connectors.  It's worth checking the integrity of your connections before doing anything else.
If you fit an amplifier, it's important to do it as close as possible to the dish (you may need to cut into the cable and fit a couple of F connectors) so that you amplify the signal as much as possible and not any noise that's being picked up in the cable. This will give you a higher SNR and, hopefully, fix your problem!!
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,325
Thanks: 76
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Sky and routers

Many thanks Paul03, you confirmed what I was sceptical about with the router and Freeview. The cable run is a bit over 40 feet, but does indeed have a joint where the old (patio mount) cable joins (with F connectors) to the new roof mount cable, since I made this joint, it may well be a good idea to look at it as a source of the problem.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Sky and routers

If the joint was made outside it's worth covering it with self-amalgamating tape.  This will prevent the ingress of moisture into the cable.
If it's inside it seems a good place to put the amplifier, should you decide to fit one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,325
Thanks: 76
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Sky and routers

Thanks again Paul03, uhmm! the join is outside, and covered with a lot of layers of insulating tape (this was a temporary measure at the time, as I didn't have enough SA tape available, that er! never got done!!) by pure chance the join is actually just above my outside garden hose reel, and whilst out of weather problems, may well have been sprayed with water occasionally. Anyway, I've decided to replace the whole run of cable in one piece (however much of a pain this will be to do!!) and then if the problem still exists fit an amplifier. I notice from the spec on the Maplin site that its suggested for cable lengths over 40 metres, well, mine is only a third of this. Even with the suspected join problem I'm getting 13.5 volts at the LNB end of the cable, which is no loss from that at the Digibox connection, so I'm suspecting that my cable run length is Ok without amplification.
The only other thing I can think of is, that the old cable (I connected to from the patio mount) was very difficult to fit an F connector to, as the screen braid kept breaking up and was very brittle, the cable was originally buried underground in conduit sealed at each end with mastic. the connector fit had to be done with great care.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Sky and routers

You'll probably not see much of a drop in the voltage to the LNB but the joint and cable length can degrade the RF signal (which is fairly weak to begin with!).
My cable length was also less than 40m (about 20m) but I suffered pixellation and loss of signal on certain channels (IIRC some of the music channels and some of the children's channels - which annoyed my son no end!!).  All the main channels were fine.  Fitting an amplifier sorted that.
Your plan sounds good.  Elimination of joints in the cable is a good idea as the joints themselves will degrade the signal.  Also, replacing the cable will mean that you'll eliminate any degradation of its RF performance due to moisture ingress etc.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Sky and routers

the Latest Sky installations have a twin cable and I think a twin LMB  (The bit at the dish end), I think this is mainly for the Sky recorder though, dont know how you join that probably with two F cons
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,325
Thanks: 76
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Sky and routers

As far as I know, the twin cables at the LNB are for those who choose to have two digiboxes in different rooms. My single digibox has in the past (not now) been connected to two TV's in different rooms, but the disadvantage is that both TV's have to watch the same channel (or one on terrestrial) which rather defeats the object unless you both want to watch TV in bed!!
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,789
Registered: 08-06-2007

Re: Sky and routers

We have one of the new Quad-LNB dishes as we have Sky+ (requires 2 LNB connections for record-while-watch) plus 2x Multiroom boxes (requires 2x1 LNBs).
Also one of the multiroom boxes feeds two TVs.
Each of the cables is terminated in an F plug.
B.
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Sky and routers

If you have Sky+ you need to have two feeds to the box (it has two tuners) thus two connections to the LNB.  The LNB used usually is what's known as a "Quad LNB", i.e. 4 LNBs in one unit with four outputs. Two are used for the Sky+ box leaving two spare for Sky+ in another room or two standard boxes.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,325
Thanks: 76
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Sky and routers

That told me then  Grin
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Not applicable

Re: Sky and routers

What BZ says is correct - I have Sky+ in the living room, which is fed by a twin coax cable, and multiroom upstairs using a single one.
I was hoping to get a freesat HD box with built in PVR, but its looking pretty expensive ATM.
I think I'll run a cable from the spare port on the LNB down to the living room, and stick a single tuner freesat HD box on the end of it.
Then I can watch live HD content (when available) on the freesat box, and record stuff on the Sky+ box (as well as watch any other stuff we might want on it.)
At a later date when the price of freesat HD PVRs drops, I'll be able to ditch the Sky+ box and use the cables for a freesat HD PVR.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,325
Thanks: 76
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Sky and routers

Just to let those who took an interest in this one know (thanks guys) that the cable join was indeed found to be the problem and, subsequently solved by completely replacing the entire cable run, including by-passing the wall mounted outlet box, so there is nothing between the LNB and the digibox connection except a one-piece of cable.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Sky and routers

Glad you got it sorted Smiley
Not applicable

Re: Sky and routers

Interested in your results, I re-made the terminations where my cables connect to the Sky+ box. Since then I've had no problems with Sky, and the Sky Guide is much more responsive too. Looks like I had some poor joints there causing me a few issues too (although less pronounced than yours were)
Happy days all round methinks.