The IT Detective Agency: Roku player can’t connect to Internet

Intro
I bought a used Roku player, just to try it out. Things didn’t go right at first.

The details
Setting it up, I got to the point where it tests its Internet connection. There are three status lights. The first two were OK, but the Internet connection returned an error, I think error #9. It didn’t matter whether I used a wired or wireless connection.

I have an unusual Internet router at home, a Juniper SSG5. All my other devices off that router were getting to Internet just dandy however. Long story short, it turns out that there was a slight DNS misconfiguration. The Juniper had itself as secondary DNS server. There was no primary DNS server. Why this only affected Roku is still a mystery.

I updated the Juniper config to use 4.2.2.3 as primary DNS server and the Roku connected just fine and it worked wirelessly as well.

Case closed!

Conclusion
Well, as a network type-of-guy, I would have appreciated access to the Roku Linux OS so I could have seen for myself what was going on. I’m sure I would have figured out the problem much sooner than I did. The error message was not particularly helpful and most of the online discussions attribute that problem to other causes than was the DNS issue discovered here. Short of OS access, more robust debugging tools, such as PING, would have been might handy.

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