Using a Sonoff Smart Switch with Virgin Media Superhub or Sky Q

If you are looking to take your first steps in Home Automation you may be looking at Smart Switches which allow you to toggle power to electronic devices from your smart phone or smart speaker. There are many options available and until now I’ve been using TP Link WiFi Plugs which work great, but at £25 a pop it quickly adds up.

An organisation in China called Sonoff have been creating Smart Switches & Plugs of their own which start from around 1/5th of the price at £5 each. I picked up a couple of Sonoff S26 myself and was pleased at the quality of the plug itself, packaging and found the instructions to get started were helpful. During setup however I came across this issue and couldn’t get any further forward… hopefully this post will help you overcome this issue.

Why does this happen? If you don’t care and want to simply solve the problem – skip this paragraph. The two most common routers in the UK currently are the Virgin Media Super Hub and the Sky Q Hub. Both of these routers operate a 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless frequency however it appears only one wireless network is broadcast and your wireless device will connect at either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. These devices are compatible only with 2.4GHz networks and most smart phones (Which you’ll use to set up the device) connect at 5GHz. To overcome this problem we have two options – split out the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks on your router but this would require re-connecting any other wireless devices already connected to your combined wireless network, or the easiest option which we’ll do here is temporarily disable the 5GHz network which will allow your smart phone to connect at 2.4GHz, set up the smart plug, re-enable the 5GHz network and the smart plug will continue to connect at 2.4GHz.

Note that this guide steps focuses on Virgin Media as that is who my broadband is with, the process we go through is the same for Sky Q.

We’ll start by using a desktop browser or tablet here – you could use a mobile but would benefit from more screen real estate, Virgin Media haven’t quite enabled a responsive interface yet! Open a browser window and navigate to you’ll see a window like the one below, enter the password for your router and log in. Note – this is not your wireless password and will most likely be printed on the router itself.

Once logged in using the menu on the left-hand side expand out Advanced Settings, Wireless then select Wireless signal as shown below.

Scroll down to the Wireless frequency 5Ghz section and select Disable 5Ghz as shown and press Apply Changes.

Wait for a moment – your wireless devices will drop their connection temporarily and will re-connect at 2.4GHz only. Retry setting up the smart plug and rather than receiving the error message as before – you should see a screen like the one below searching for the device.

All being well – you’ll be able to complete setup of the smart plug.

Once you are done here, go back to the router configuration page and re-enable the 5GHz wireless frequency.

Did it work for you? Please let me know.

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