Why is my Sky Q Mini Box Not Working?

shot of a tv with soccer match on big flat

At Aerials Direct, we acknowledge the undeniable excellence of the Sky Q system. One standout feature, in my opinion, is the wireless connectivity offered by the new version of Sky multi-room, called Multiscreen. Unlike the previous setup that required coaxial cables running throughout your house, now only the main Sky Q box needs a connection to the satellite dish. However, there can be occasional issues with this new setup. In this article, we will address potential problems with your Sky mini-box not working or experiencing connection issues. We will also provide tips and advice to help you resolve these problems.

Wireless Connection with Sky Q

Before we delve into the details, let’s briefly discuss how the Sky Q wireless connection works between the main Sky Q box and the mini-boxes.
The main Sky Q box connects to a wideband LNB using two separate coax cables (or one cable for dSCR systems). Unlike previous Sky systems, there is no switching at the LNB. As a result, the same connections can be used to feed multiple satellite tuners, eliminating the need for separate satellite connections for each Sky box.
The Sky box is also connected to your broadband router. This connection is essential for Sky Q multi-room with the mini-boxes, although it may not be necessary if you only have the main Sky Q box. The Sky Q box establishes a 5GHz mesh network with the mini-boxes, allowing each mini-box to be assigned an IP address.

5GHz Mesh Network

As mentioned earlier, the Sky Q system operates over a 5GHz mesh network. The mini-boxes connect wirelessly to the main Sky Q box, not to your Wi-Fi network. This means that all boxes need to be within range of the main box or another Sky Q product. Like any wireless system, you may encounter issues when you exceed the range of the wireless signal. This can lead to signal dropouts or failure to connect. While most Wi-Fi systems use the 2.4GHz frequency, 5GHz is utilized for some later Wi-Fi standards, offering faster connection speeds. However, the higher frequency range has a shorter range within buildings compared to the lower 2.4GHz range. This means that larger houses or multiple walls can increase the likelihood of encountering connectivity problems. Setting up the mini-boxes is simple using the WPS push button connection.

Ethernet Connection for Sky Q Mini Box

In addition to wireless connectivity, the mini-boxes can be connected via Ethernet using the built-in RJ45 connector on the back. This option is ideal for larger properties where the wireless connection may be problematic. Although it deviates from the advantage of avoiding extensive cabling throughout your house, a wired connection ensures a more stable signal and connection. In such cases, it is highly beneficial to have home network data cabling installed, which can serve various purposes.
Unlike the coaxial cable used to connect to the satellite dish, the data cabling required is twisted-pair data cabling like Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, or Cat7 cable. The term “Cat” stands for “category,” and higher numbers indicate higher data transmission rates. While Cat5e is the minimum recommended cable specification, I personally prefer installing Cat6 cable as it offers similar pricing to Cat5. If you choose to install data cabling on the exterior of your property, make sure to use a “UV stable” exterior data cable. Data cables can be purchased pre-terminated in various lengths, or you can purchase the cable and connectors separately to install them yourself. This process requires a specialised crimping tool and may be tricky if you have not done it before. However, it allows you to customize the cable length and facilitates easier cable routing. When setting up an Ethernet connection, you may need to access the hidden installer menu on the Sky Q box to configure a wired connection.

Network Connection Between Sky Q and Mini Box

If you plan to connect your mini-box using a hard-wired internet connection, it is crucial to connect the cable between your Sky Q main box and the mini-box, rather than connecting it to your LAN (Local Area Network). While it is acceptable to connect between network switches or use the Ethernet ports on your internet router, both the Sky Q main box and the mini-box need to be connected to the network via Ethernet in this case. The only exception is if you are using a Sky router, in which case the main box can be connected via Wi-Fi while the mini-box is connected via Ethernet to your internet router. Alternatively, wireless repeaters can be connected via Ethernet for a hybrid solution.
If it is not feasible to install additional cabling throughout your house, Powerline Adapters can be a useful alternative. These adapters transmit data through your existing mains electrical cable and ring main. For more information on Powerline Adapters, you can refer to our previous blog post titled “Powerline Adapters: All You Need To Know.” However, keep in mind that the adapters need to be installed on the same electrical circuit, which may not always be the case.

How Many Sky Mini Boxes Can I Connect?

With Sky Q, you can connect up to four Sky Q mini-boxes. Each mini-box incurs an additional £12 per month on your subscription at the time of writing this article. Although there were discussions about supporting up to seven mini-boxes from one main box, this has not yet been realized. If you have a Sky Q 1TB box, you can watch Sky TV on two screens simultaneously and also stream on one smartphone or tablet. On the other hand, if you have the Sky Q 2TB Box, you can enjoy Sky Q on three TVs simultaneously and stream on two additional devices. It is important to note that exceeding the maximum number of boxes allowed or your subscribed limit will result in improper functionality.

Installing Sky Q Mini Boxes Behind Wall-Mounted TVs

One of the remarkable features of the new mini-boxes is their slim design, allowing them to easily fit behind wall-mounted TVs without requiring significant space between the TV and the wall. This convenience was not always feasible with previous Sky versions. When connecting a mini-box, you only need to connect the power and HDMI cables. Since the HDMI cable transmits signals to the TV, the only cable that needs to be hidden or managed is the power cable (you can refer to our tips on hiding TV cables in a separate article). However, it is worth noting that placing the mini-box between the wall and the TV may slightly impede the wireless signal. In such cases, a hard-wired connection may be more suitable.

Troubleshooting Sky Mini Box Issues

If you encounter issues with your Sky mini-box, here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem:
Check the main Sky Q box: If the main box is functioning correctly while the mini-box is not, it indicates an issue with the connection between the main box and the mini-boxes. If there is a “no signal” message on the main box as well, it suggests a problem with the Sky signal from the satellite dish or a faulty main box.
Verify network settings: Check the network settings within the main Sky box. There should be a tick or checkmark indicating a successful network connection. If this is missing, it likely indicates a problem with the main box’s connection to the router. Without this connection, the main box cannot assign an IP address to the mini-box(es).

For more information, please contact Aerials Direct.