Roamio Ethernet port Dead / USB to Ethernet Connects to Internet - but Mini stutters

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Ether Net, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Nov 6, 2017 #1 of 20
    Ether Net

    Ether Net New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017
    As the title suggest, Ethernet port is dead (no lights when plugged in) on Roamio Plus. Had an old USB to Ethernet (Belkin 10/100) lying around so I gave it a try. It allows the Roamio Plus to connect to the internet, download updates, and even streams Netflix with no problems, no hesitation, no stuttering.

    Tivo mini in the bedroom also connects to internet and streams Netflix equally well. HOWEVER, it will not play live TV or recorded content from the Roamio without severe stuttering (plays 1/4 second, then pauses for 1 second.)

    So here is more background:

    Bought Roamio and Mini about 3 years ago.
    Had both connected via cat6 ethernet to Xfinity combo router modem.
    Everything was good!

    May 2017
    Returned rented Xfinity modem and purchased modern Motorola modem/router
    Still connected via cat6 ethernet.
    Everything still good!

    September 2017
    Just before or after Hurricane Irma passed, it no longer connected to the internet.
    Diagnosed ethernet port dead - no lights whatsoever on the ethernet port.
    (Confirmed with multiple cables to multiple ports on modem. All cables worked perfect with all router ports when testing them with the Apple TV sitting next to Roamio.

    Problem #1 Roamio can't connect to router / internet (tuner still works fine!)
    Problem #2 Tivo Mini can't talk to Roamio (due to Roamio ethernet being offline.)

    Plan B
    I happened to find an old Belkin USB to ethernet adapter (10/100) that I had used years earlier with an old series 2 Tivo. So I give it a try. This is slightly strange, but probably no surprise to techies….

    IP address is assigned.

    Roamio connects to router & internet.

    However, on network setting pages, it shows "Ethernet Off" but yet shows the current IP address. So, I think the logic here is that "Ethernet Off" is displayed because there is nothing plugged in / nothing detected on the built-in ethernet port. But it does in fact have an ip address assigned through the USB adapter. It streams content from the internet - like NetFlix. Everything seems normal.

    Everything is normal EXCEPT the Tivo Mini in the bedroom WILL NOT play live TV or recorded content from the Roamio without extreme stuttering mentioned above. The Tivo mini WILL stream NetFlix from the internet just fine.

    So my somewhat old USB ethernet adapter works just fine for single Tivo purposes but does not play nice with Tivo Mini.

    Have rebooted both units many many times.

    Have spent considerable time on the phone with Tivo support.

    Also tried assigning static IPs to no avail - though I didn't make any configuration changes to the router. Not sure if anything is required on the router side or not. Didn't want to monkey things up since this router works with everything else and has been working fine since May with both Tivos.

    My Roamio appears to not have WiFi. It doesn't show up as an option under 'Network Settings.'

    Plan C
    Attempted MOCA
    Having just set up MOCA on a different pair of Tivos at a different address, I thought I would try to do the same here. If the Roamio can continue getting internet access through the USB/Ethernet adapter, then I can set up a MOCA network (with ROAMIO as the bridge) to connect to the Mini that way. HOWEVER, when I begin configuring for MOCA, even though I have an IP and internet access, the MOCA process stops because its looking at the built-in port and reminding me that I don't have it plugged in or access to the internet. Even when I tried with a cable plugged in and connected to the router, I still got the same message - "unplugged" because the port is toast. So using the built-in MOCA is not an option since it seemingly insists on using the built-in ethernet port. Also, the new Motorola Modem/Router does not seem to have MOCA capability, unlike the modems supplied by Xfinity.

    Plan D
    I'll try a different and more modern USB/ethernet adapter and maybe that will play nice between Roamio and Mini. So I purchased an "Ativa" brand USB 3.0 to ethernet adapter - figuring it should be backwards compatible to USB 2.0 (which is what the Tivo ports are) from the local office supply store. I would have preferred to buy a name brand like Belkin, Linksys, etc… but their Ativa was the only brand in the store. Brought it home, plugged it in….. No Joy! The lights would blink away on it but I wasn't even able to get an IP address assigned with this unit. Perhaps the Tivo doesn't have the drivers for these new adapters?

    So my questions are:
    1) Has anybody had any luck using a USB/Ethernet adapter to connect a Roamio or Bolt to a Tivo Mini? If so, what brand & model?

    This would be my preference because it's a simply plug and play and won't require any configuring. And it would likely be the cheapest option to restore functionality to the Tivo Mini. I'm am considering purchasing a newer Belkin USB adapter, maybe a 3.0 version (though I know I'll be limited to 2.0 speeds) and see it if performs any better.

    2) The other option would be to switch to a MOCA enabled router/modem. That would completely bypass my ethernet situation. Welcome any recommendations for Modem/Routers with this ability.

    3) Use a stand-alone MOCA bridge. I don't have any experience with these but welcome comments suggestions on these too.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this not so short story and thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice!
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  2. Nov 6, 2017 #2 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Unless you have a MoCa-capable router, you would need to add a MoCa adapter.
    You cannot have the Roamio provide MoCa Networking because it needs the ethernet and coax.

    The USB is most likely a USB 2.x and speed is not a match for ethernet.
     
    kpeters59 likes this.
  3. Nov 6, 2017 #3 of 20
    Ether Net

    Ether Net New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017

    Thanks for the reply. I was searching online and saw a spec somewhere that indicated that the USB ports were 2.0. However, I was hopeful that if you could attach an external drive for extra storage content that you could also get speed good enough for Roamio-to-Mini operations. But perhaps the live channel streaming requires more bandwidth than internet streaming like Netflix.

    I also see that WeakKnees is selling a USB/Ethernet adapter but I don't think they spelled out if would stream Roamio to Mini, or just basic internet like the one I have now does. I will have to give them a call and see what they have to say.
     
  4. Nov 6, 2017 #4 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    External USB drives do not work on Tivo.
    Only specific (Tivo prepared) external eSATA drives can be used, but they are no lomger manufactured NOR are they recommended because ANY failures with the 2 drives will cause loss of shows.

    Tivo approved external drives cost more and only has a maximum of 1TB for additional space. An internal 3TB drive cost less than the external. Replacing it is as easy as replacing the same drive in a PC. Up to 3TB can be placed into a Roamio without the use of a PC. Up to 8TB with a use of a PC and a program called MSFR (Windows).

    The recommended drive is WD Red (not Pro series), example models are WD10EFRX, WD20EFRX, WD30EFRX.

    This would mean starting fresh like with a new DVR, There would be no shows, or passes unless it was transferred to a PC or another Tivo.

    Its also much more efficient (cost, energy, etc.) to simply replace the internal drive with a much larger drive.

    All streams to Mini require bandwidth equivalent to ethernet/MoCa speeds and doubt even USB 3 would cut it.
     
  5. Nov 7, 2017 #5 of 20
    Ether Net

    Ether Net New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017
    OK. I knew you could connect externals, but didn't' realize it was eSATA only. Thanks for snuffing out my last bit of hope on a USB option. I should have come here first before contacting Tivo. Although the tech support was nice, he kept going round and round with some expectation that we might get it to work. Sounded like a new guy with coach/trainer in the background.

    Since you mentioned swapping drives, any reason you can't make a clone of existing drive for backup purposes? Not so much to back up the content, but to be able to just drop a clone in if and when the existing drive fails. No need to try and install software or anything. Just plug and play and download any new or relevant updates. Have had several computer drive failures over the years and one this weekend on a Mac... so that has been my other project this weekend. Fortunately, I had a clone ready to drop in and only needed to update about to months of user files from time machine backup. Wouldn't mind having a clone standing by for the Tivo and maybe update it once or twice a year.

    Thanks again for your knowledge. You have saved me time, money, and effort by not fooling anymore with the USB adapter.
     
  6. Nov 7, 2017 #6 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Roamio models already have an internal storage for its system software, everything else is on the hard drive, shows, passes, cable card, channels, guide info, etc.

    If the drive fails, you can just swap in a new one and after its Guided setup, its back up again. There is no image to backup, download and restore that is necessary.

    If you like to backup shows, passes, use KMTTG. You can save shows on a PC/Mac/NAS and this can be a long term storage. I recommend downloading your shows that you want to keep long term, to a NAS. Keeping the Tivo space available for more recordings. If the Tivo is filled up, it will start deleting shows seeking more space needed for future recordings OR it can stop recording if you use the KEEP UNTIL I DELETE option alot.

    To be able to send shows back to be watched, there is PyTivo and PyTivo Desktop. KMTTG is only TiVo-to-PC on shows. It can be used with PyTivo for its server to pull (Tivo side initiated downloads) shows to Tivo.
     
  7. Nov 7, 2017 #7 of 20
    Ether Net

    Ether Net New Member

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    Ok. Great to know. Thanks again. Will look into KMTTG once I get a MOCA network set up.
     
  8. Nov 7, 2017 #8 of 20
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    All Roamios have WiFi. It's not recommended or supported as a way to connect to a Mini, but people have done it.
     
  9. Nov 7, 2017 #9 of 20
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    I'll go one step further: internal wireless on a basic Roamio does not support a Mini. That applies to 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  10. Ether Net

    Ether Net New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017
    I thought they all had wireless buy mine doesn't show it anywhere. Maybe it had to be selected at Guided Setup or something. I was just thinking that maybe I could use it for the internet connection and then Roamio's internal MoCa for streaming to Mini. But I've completely dismissed all that now.

    But I do have another question. Instead of dropping money on an exchange Roamio, or on an external MoCa Bridge/Adapter, how smoothly would things work if I buy a new Roamio or Bolt, use that as my main Tivo with it's ethernet (for internet) and internal MoCa for streaming to Mini and my old Roamio. I would put the cable card in the new Bolt and then use my old Roamio like a Mini over MoCa.

    Will the old Roamio Plus function like a Mini without a cable card? Or would I need to get an addition card?
    Would they share the recorded content...aggregate it so it looks like it's all in once place? Or would I have to select which unit I want to play recorded content from? Or would you have "transfer" from one to the other like the earlier Tivos?

    Any other thoughts or concerns would be welcome on this setup.
    (Bolt uses ethernet for internet and MoCa for networking, while the Mini and Roamio plus connect over Moca.)
    Thanks!
     
  11. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Correct. The rates detailed in >this post< may be a bit dated, but, yes, streaming recorded or live TV between TiVos can require 15-20 Mbps; plus, TiVo streaming is much less resilient than the automatic bitrate adjustment employed by most streaming providers.

    A DVR as a client-only box (i.e. w/o recording capability) doesn't work as well as a Mini, since the box wouldn't have access to the main DVR's guide and couldn't stream live TV. Also, your "dead Ethernet" client-only DVR box won't be able to stream content from the main DVR any better than the Mini can stream from the "dead Ethernet" box now unless you can get the box connected via MoCA... which is questionable. (will post a followup)
     
  12. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Just to test the possibility, I'd recommend grabbing a TiVo Bridge from Amazon ASAP, currently on sale for $50, and return it if it proves unhelpful.

    The main hiccup with your plans for configuring the "dead Ethernet" Roamio as a MoCA client is that the Roamio's built-in MoCA hardware may have also been affected by whatever cooked the Ethernet port, per other recent TCF posts, here:
     
  13. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    I have used Netflix and streaming 1080p content yields <=7GB/hr.

    My internet is over 100mb/s down and well as up. Roamio is on the 5G.
     
  14. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Please do report back if you're able to successfully network the "dead Ethernet" Roamio as a MoCA client.
     
  15. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    I doubt it was even that much usage, since that's a rate of 15+Mbps.
     
  16. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about offloading a bunch of shows from a Roamio Basic using TiVo Desktop. Apparently the limiting factor will be the 100 Mbps Ethernet port on the Roamio. Has anyone tried using a USB to 1Gig Ethernet adapter ?
     
  17. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Not going to help. I doubt you can get anything except a TiVo Wireless G to be recognized. Using Desktop to pull shows from a basic Roamio was about 99Mbps last time I tried.
     
    jth tv likes this.
  18. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Even if you could find a compatible USB Ethernet adapter, you'll find it much slower than FastE, mostly owing to the ports being USB 2.

    As for compatible USB Ethernet adapters, the following post and its replies indicate you won't have much luck, regardless:

    Transferring shows without a wired ethernet connection...?

    TL;DR: 100 Mbps is the top rate possible off the Roamio.
     
    jth tv likes this.
  19. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree. I usually offload several shows a day from my basic, and if there was a good alternative to living with the 100Mbps limit I would have found it. Queue up the transfers and go do something else while they process.
     
    jth tv likes this.
  20. Ether Net

    Ether Net New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017

    Tivo branded MoCa adpater should be arriving today via Amazon. Will also be trying out a Bolt from another address to use as the "Master Tivo" (the one with a tuner card) and try the ether-dead Romaio as a tuner card-less client.
     
    krkaufman likes this.

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