Sky Q System not playing nicely. Multiple MACs and Devices.

amdyhouamdyhou Member Posts: 7
Photogenic Name Dropper First Comment
edited February 25 in Network Infrastructure

I would like to share my experience with SkyQ and how it impacts upon Fing and Fingbox.

I recently had SkyQ installed – the main box and two mini-boxes (and a booster). I have BT Infinity Broadband. Initially, my infrastructure was an Apple Time Capsule serving as DHCP router and Wi-Fi access point. Three Apple Airport Extremes “extended” my Wi-Fi to the far reaches of my house and garden. Although only a bungalow, the internal walls are real Wi-Fi killers!

The Sky engineer couldn’t understand the complexity of my network and was unable to get SkyQ working in a stable manner after several hours of trying different things, but I agreed to continue to attempt to get it working myself. I had a planned transition from the Apple infrastructure to a TP-Link Deco P9 one, as these units have built-in Powerline functionality which assists where Wi-Fi backhaul is weak.

I now just about (I think) have the SkyQ working, but it causes noticeable havoc with my network and Fingbox. I shall attempt to describe this without going into too much detail about the SkyQ configuration I have reached. You may be aware that the SkyQ boxes generate their own 5GHz mesh on Ch36 at 80MHz. This does not play nicely with other access points. It is possible to change the channel to Ch44 or reduce the bandwidth to 40MHz, but such actions are not recommended by Sky and seem to cause even more trouble.

Now to the real problem… The 4 SkyQ devices in my system (main box, 2 x minis and booster) generate no less than an incredible 20 MAC addresses. Yes, you read that right. 20. 5 per device. But that’s not all… the worse part is that SkyQ somehow assigns different (fictional) MAC addresses to other, normal network devices. So, when I look in my Fing Device List, there are 3 different Fingboxes shown, each with a different MAC address. Two will be greyed out, but if removed they will re-appear shortly. Of course, I only have one Fingbox on my network, and it has only one MAC address. I regularly get “a new device has joined your network” notifications from Fingbox. When I look, it’s a device that was present before but has suddenly been provided with another MAC address by SkyQ, so Fingbox thinks it’s a new device and it now appears twice in the device list; once for the correct MAC and one for the false one.

I don’t know how SkyQ is doing this, but if I disconnect it all returns to normal. Anyone else had so much fun?



  • amdyhouamdyhou Member Posts: 7
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Comment
    Less of a question and more of an informational post, though I'd be pleased to hear of other experiences. I recently had Sky Q installed - main box and two minis. At the time, system consisted of an Apple Time Capsule serving as Broadband router, DHCP/NAT and Wi-Fi (same SSID for 2.4GHz and 5GHz). Broadband is BT Infinity (NOT Sky). Three Apple Airport Extremes "extended" the network to the far reaches of my house and garden. Although a bungalow, the internal walls are real Wi-Fi killers. The Sky engineer was unable to get things working, so I agreed to test things out myself over forthcoming days. Eventually I ended up removing my Apple infrastructure and using TP-Link Deco P9s which have built-in Powerline to assist where Wi-Fi backhaul is poor. I now just about have SkyQ working, but the main reason for this post is to advise of the absolute havoc it causes on my network according to Fingbox. The main SkyQ box, 2 x minis and the dreaded "booster" provide a total of 20 MAC addresses! Yes, you read that right. 20. As you may be aware, SkyQ sets up its own mesh networks for use by the minis to talk to the main box. The 5GHz mesh operates at 80MHz on Ch36 and causes havoc with other 5GHz nets (it is possible to reduce the bandwidth or change to Ch44 but this is not recommended by Sky and it caused further problems). Worse, with SkyQ installed, Fingbox sees several MAC addresses for several other network devices, including itself! The Device List in Fing shows my Fingbox as having 3 different MAC addresses (obviously, only one is correct). Somehow the SkyQ system is causing this. Many perfectly normal network devices are suddenly alerted by Fingbox as "A New Device Has Joined The network". Infact, its just a formerly present device which has suddenly been associated with a fictitious MAC address somehow assigned by SkyQ, in addition to its real one, and hence is now shown as 2 devices in the device list. If I remove SkyQ, all returns to normal.
    Phew! Anyone else had this much fun?
  • ScoobyScooby Member Posts: 135
    100 Comments 25 Awesomes 25 Likes 5 Answers
    Here is a post, not quite the same as your, but mentioning Sky Q:

    And, here are two other posts, not related to Sky Q, but with randomly created MAC addresses (unfortunately, no solution found, but went away, for one individual, on its own):

    I believe both have mesh networks, like yours, and that could be causing the issue. Unable to confirm, though. I believe both were using VPN on their networks, too.

    I know this doesn't help, but, at least you aren't the only one experiencing "strange" network issues...

  • amdyhouamdyhou Member Posts: 7
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Comment
    Hi Scooby, thanks for that. The first post is indeed regarding Sky Q (though it just mentions Sky), as it's referring to the fact that the Mini boxes act as a mesh network if, and only if, you have Sky broadband - but I do not. The other post was interesting to me - I did not know that information about locally-assigned MAC addresses. The ones that are showing up on my Fing list are indeed locally assigned. More proof that it's likely to be SkyQ causing the havoc. (I'm not using VPN). Thanks, amdyhou
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