USB port on the Fire TV Cube 3 loses power when the device is alseep, causing issues with external Gigabit Ethernet adapters and more

One great change with the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube, compared to both previous models, is the inclusion of a full-sized USB-A port whereas the old models used a micro USB port. This eliminates the need to use an OTG cable for connecting the vast majority of USB drives and peripherals. The other change Amazon has done with the new Cube’s USB port, which is unlike the past models, is cutting off all power to the port when the Fire TV Cube goes to sleep, whereas the older Cube models kept the port powered all the time. This change can be beneficial to some for automatically turning off external devices when the Fire TV Cube isn’t being used, but it’s proving to be an annoyance for others, such as those using external Gigabit Ethernet adapters for additional wired network speed.

Update 11/17/22

A software update for the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube has changed it so that the USB port now remains powered while the device is asleep.

Amazon has always used a 100 Mbps Ethernet port on all of its own external Fire TV network adapters and all Fire TV models with built-in Ethernet ports. The new Fire TV Cube is, unfortunately, no exception and also uses a 100 Mbps Ethernet port instead of being upgraded to a Gigabit Ethernet port. While 100 Mbps is fast enough for the absolute best video quality offered by any streaming service, which is likely why Amazon felt there was no need to upgrade it to a Gigabit connection, it’s occasionally not fast enough for a small subset of users that push high bitrate local video files to their Fire TV, such as uncompressed Blu-ray rips. For those with internet speeds greater than 100 Mbps, it’s also just nice being able to fully utilize that connection for general Fire TV downloads, like app installs, OS updates, image downloads, and more.

While WiFi speeds on Fire TVs have long exceeded 100 Mbps, some people prefer the reliability of a wired Ethernet connection so they choose the slower connection option instead. A middle-ground solution has always been to use a third-party external USB Gigabit Ethernet adapter with Fire TVs. With an external Gigabit Ethernet adapter, you still won’t be able to achieve Gigabit speeds, due to the USB 2.0 connection limiting you to 480 Mbps which translates to around 300 Mbps in real-world use.

Since the Fire TV Cube 3 cuts power to its USB port while sleeping, it means the Cube will have no network connection while asleep if you rely on an external ethernet adapter of any kind. This results in the Cube’s light bar strobing orange all the time and prevents all Alexa commands from working until the Cube is woken up manually using the remote. The USB port loses power whether you have the Cube set to output no video or a black screen while sleeping. However, all hope isn’t lost for those wanting a faster wired connection without any annoyances.

The solution is to be sure to configure a WiFi connection in addition to the external Ethernet connection. This way the Fire TV Cube falls back on its WiFi connection when it loses its external Ethernet connection while asleep. This prevents the orange strobing bar and keeps Alexa working while asleep, but allows you to use the external Ethernet connection while the Cube is awake. You may occasionally notice the network connection flipping from WiFi to Ethernet if you’re quick to use the Cube immediately after it wakes up, but it shouldn’t be too big of an issue.

While having a fallback WiFi connection solves the external Ethernet issue pretty well, the USB port powering off can still be annoying in other situations. If you like using a USB keyboard to control your Fire TV Cube, like the popular Logitech K400 or K600 which are made for TV devices specifically, having the USB port power off means you won’t be able to wake the Fire TV up using the keyboard. I’m sure there are other scenarios where a dead USB port during sleep can be a nuisance. With any luck, Amazon will add an option in the Fire TV settings to toggle the USB port on or off while the device is asleep. In the meantime, be aware of this USB behavior change if you’re a heavy user of the Fire TV Cube’s USB port.

See all my 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube coverage here.

16 comments
  1. W Wolf says:

    Apparently the Fire Cube 3 also doesn’t like the Xfinity gateway XB8 broadcasting Wi-Fi 6e. This morning the cube indicated no internet when all other devices were connected fine. I’ve disabled the gateway from broadcasting Wi-Fi 6 to see if it will stay connected.

    • Lewis R. says:

      The Firecube Tv 3rd Gen apparently doesn’t play well with XB8 from Xfinity. The message says it is limited when trying to connect using ipv6 protocol. If we can figure out how to turn off ipv6 maybe it would connect to the internet.

      • P says:

        Xfinity just stinks and being in the bay area just unfortunately gives little alternatives to the service. The security protocols regarding downloads for one…frequent outages..spotty and low signals even in an apartment. That needs to change.

  2. Joe says:

    What about users who want to utilize the USB port for expanded memory and cache of library data (like Kodi for example)? Will this cause issues for apps that truly don’t ‘close’ in the background that may be using the expanded USB memory? Just curious if anyone has tested this.

  3. Nico says:

    At this point and in the year 2022, it’s just ridiculous that the new Cube doesn’t have Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0. Amazon has been cutting costs at the wrong corners, in my opinion.

    • Mariano says:

      They could have included it, but it’s a streaming device, is it really necessary? Netflix needs 15 Mbps to stream 4k Dolby vision, so is 100 Mbps really cutting corners?

      • kreos says:

        It’s only a streaming device? So, is Fire Cube really necessary? Man, in 2022 100 Mbps, USB 2.0, 16GB and 2GB RAM, extremely closed Amazon OS for $140???? For $149 you have new Apple TV with 4GB RAM, 1 Gbps Ethernet and 128GB for apps. Ok, there aren’t any USB ports and their closed tvOS is rather disaster but c’mon… $149!!

        • Jeff says:

          And what are you going to do with all the storage and ram download everything from Apple Arcade? Oh and make sure to install Kodi iptv side loading apps and all the streaming apps from the store. These debates about all the streaming device is nuts. I have the new Cube Apple TV 4K 2021 and the Shield pro 2019 they all have different plus and minus. I use all 3 for what they are. The new Cube is my main streaming device, The Apple TV is on the main tv for everyone. The shield is sitting in the corner not hooked up at the moment. The talk about what is better for streaming is just crazy. Get what you like and be happy with it….

        • Anthony Rossetti says:

          I agree on the price but is Apple TV really the best comparison you could come up with, and fire TV OS ,closed? it is basically Android and you can sideload, I wish it had the ability to install the play store like their tablets though pretty much that is all that is missing.
          And I think the price is being justified by the addition of the echo speaker and IR blaster, not provided on Apple TV or other TV boxes.
          But this is something I can not understand at all, Amazon has left no choice for people who want a top tier fire TV device with all the features of the cube but who have their TV’s wall mounted, my TV’s are all wall mounted, I have nowhere to put this thing and I already have echo speakers paired to my fire TV devices that sit elsewhere in the room.

          This thing makes no sense for anyone with a wall mounted TV, what are we supposed to do, stick the cube with the built in speaker behind the TV and disable the speaker? will we even be able to disable the onboard echo and pair it to another echo speaker and get all the same features as if we were using the onboard one?

          The other cubes were bad enough with the mic built in but this is even worse.

          And even if you have a TV on a media cabinet the TV will likely span the entire top of whatever it is sitting on (and then some in a lot of cases), and the TV will sit so that the bottom of the screen is very close to the top of what it is sitting on so if you were to place the cube anywhere on top of the cabinet it would obstruct the screen, and you are limited to where you can place this thing by the length of the HDMI cord (and other connections as well buy mainly HDMI) there is just nowhere to mount these things for most people, where it would be practical and not unsightly, this is the worst idea Amazon has ever had and this cube BS is what has stopped me from getting another fire TV device.
          I am very anal about hiding wiring and like a clean uncluttered look, but even if you are not like me I would say most people must find this thing awkward AF to find a place for.
          Why can’t they just make a device with the all the same features minus the echo and Alexa speaker and mics built in for people who want to pair separate echo speaker devices and neatly mount their fire TV device behind the TV or AVR cabinet?
          And also build in the IR blaster to the echo devices instead, they could put a full 360 degree array of IR LED’s behind the fabric for the speaker and you could place the echo, echo dot etc. anywhere in the room and have it control the TV and other IR devices instead of running an IR extender wire.
          So what if it adds expense and ups the cost of the echo device
          the IR blaster is only $20 so it might add another $5 or $10 to the cost of an echo speaker but that make a lot more sense than
          adding the cost of an echo to the fire TV, plus having the IR blaster built into the echo device would eliminate the clutter of having to have an additional IR blaster device sitting around the room and free up another outlet and save power.

    • Bill Ruschmeyer says:

      Agree 100%. Used to be free returns if you are a prime member, now Amazon is charging. These rising costs on everything is literally killing people.

    • Bill says:

      Exactly no sense we are in 2.5g and 10g port connections which my routers have shameful

  4. Ron says:

    I plugged a thumb drive into my USB port to record movies and shows from my IPTV service . The other day it didn’t record A scheduled recording And now I’m thinking it was because it was asleep.

  5. Jeff says:

    Did some digging in the cube’s files and it looks like it is using the mediatek mt7961 which is similar to the one in the 4k max mt7921. It also looks like it’s a new Wi-Fi device and the Linux drivers are on mediatek to get working. I also say some hot fixes and it should get resolved hopefully.

  6. Vince says:

    What is the best set up hard wired into a gigabyte external device. Feel lost with all these comments. Could you post best connections diagram anyone

  7. DaMacFunkin says:

    In regards to Hard wiring a Gigabit Ethernet adapter into the USB port does anybody have a recommendation for this device, I’m using a Ugreen USB 3 hub that worked fine on the Fire Stick 4K Max, on the new cube it freezes if I decide to play back a local file. Could the USB port be capped also?

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