Sky Q Installation Part 2: “You can do it if you Sky Q it..”

(Awaits letter from B&Q solicitors)

[ Part One ] [ Part Two ] [ Part Three ] [ Sky Q Re-Install, 2018 ]

(Originally published in March 2016)

My Sky Broadband Unlimited is all set-up and running at home now.  Around 11Mbs down, 1Mbs up. Somewhat of a difference in comparison to my Virgin Media connection of up to 200Mbs down and 11Mbs up. But SBU is free and I shouldn’t complain.

I was right as to why Sky Broadband wasn’t working in the first place: BT Openreach hadn’t removed the Infinity kit at the cabinet, so my phone line was unable to talk to the Sky equipment at the local exchange until BT Openreach reconfigured the cabinet wiring (which they did yesterday).

I also discovered another issue during all this – caller ID wasn’t working on the Sky Talk package, but a quick call to Sky resolved that.  I must admit to being very impressed with Sky Customer service.  While it did take a while to get to speak to special Q operative, it wasn’t wholly unpleasant. They play the theme tunes to some of Sky’s most popular TV shows – Mad Men, Game of Thrones, etc. while you wait.

Well, the result of all this is that I’ve now ordered an upgrade to Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro.  This will give a theoretical maximum of 80Mbs down, 20Mbs up.  The intriguing thing is that assuming the local exchange supports it, I should be able to get a static IP for my broadband connection.  This will be very, very useful for firewalling purposes when using my personal servers.  However, the static IP functionality isn’t guaranteed at the time of the order, so we’ll wait and see.  But what this will do is to allow me to drop Virgin Media in a few months time and rely entirely on Sky.  They say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but .. urgh .. I believe in better.  If nothing else, I should be able to talk to the right people if things do go wrong.  And I’ll just have to deal with one bill each month, rather than multiple.

The Sky Q hub itself isn’t bad.  Initial tests show a sturdy unit capable of 802.11ac with reasonable throughput. The only downside so far is there are only two ethernet ports.  But I intend to keep the Sky Q Silver box and Apple TV (running tvOS) wireless, with my Philips Hue light bridge and UHD TV on ethernet.  I did try an 8 port gigabit ethernet switch with the Sky Q unit, but the Philips Hue bridge would not work with it correctly. I’ll need to take a look at the switch (a Netgear) configuration to ensure that both the Sky Q hub and the switch are correctly configured.  The switch wasn’t configured to issue DHCP requests and I configured it to be a dumb, dumb switch when it was connected to the Virgin Media Superhub.  More tinkering is needed.

This morning I came down and woke the MacBook Pro from sleep to find that it was taking an age connecting to sites.  Having not much luck with routers that attempt to combine 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands into a single overlapping SSID, I’ve taken the opportunity of splitting the SSIDs into two separate names – one for 5Ghz and one for 2.4Ghz.  I’ve had no trouble with this on the Virgin Media SuperHub AC, so let’s see what the Sky Q Hub does.  I’ll report on progress as and when.

Update: The reason for the connection problem above was due to TWO backup programs (Arq and Backblaze) consuming the full 1Mbs upstream.  Ping times went from around 25ms to over 600ms and performance was as slow as heck.  So I’ve temporarily disabled the backups until next week (when the Fibre Pro goes live), and moved everything back to a single SSID covering both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.  All is now well.