Report: Google Home, Chromecast Break WiFi | www.infopackets.com

Report: Google Home, Chromecast Break WiFi

John Lister's picture

Several Google devices such as the Google Home and Chromecast appear to be causing temporary WiFi outages on home routers. Google says it's working on the problem, but some critics believe it's a design flaw rather than a bug.

Originally it appeared the problem was specifically restricted to one gadget, the Google Home Max, and affected only "Archer" brand routers. However, later reports have identified the problem in other models of the Google Home smart speaker, along with the Chromecast range that 'casts' Internet audio and video to a television set.

WiFi Dropping Out

Reports suggest that wireless connections drop out intermittently, or the router freezes up completely. The problem appears to affect the router itself and thus compromises all connections from any device attempting to use WiFi.

It took some time to isolate the problem, but router manufacturer TP-Link believes its all to do with something called a "multicast DNS packet." In simple terms, that's a tiny piece of data that the Google device sends to a router to confirm the wireless connection is still good. The idea is that this makes it more likely any 'cast' video will continue to play smoothly and that playback controls on a computer, smartphone or tablet will continue to work without delays.

Device Unleashes Flood Of Data

In normal circumstances, the Google device will send a piece of data every 20 seconds, something that routers can handle without any problems at all. However, it turns out that if the device goes into sleep mode it will "save" the packets of data, and then send them all at once when it reawakens. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

That's a big problem as if the device is in sleep mode for a full day, it will send 4,320 packets at once, enough to overwhelm the router and temporarily prevent it from handling any other traffic. TP-Link's explanation implies there's no limit and that a device that's rarely used could wake up and send more than 100,000 packets. This could completely fill the router's on-board memory and mean it needs to be rebooted to start working again properly. (Source: tp-link.com)

While they wait for Google to address the problem, manufacturers TP-Link, Netgear and Linksys have all issued software updates that will act as a workaround and stop the flood of data affecting the system.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you noticed any problems with your WiFi recently that could be explained by this? Have you heard anything from your router manufacturer? Does Google need to apologize for the apparent blunder and do more to keep people informed?

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Comments

Stuart Berg's picture

I received a Google Home device for Christmas. I've seen no problems on my Linksys E3000 router where I use WiFi to connect many other devices like a wireless printer, laptop, smartphone, etc..

andred99's picture

I have this problem and I am trying to find out the cause of it. I use a D-Link 655 Router. At the end of December, I change my old home automation base on X10 protocol for the TP-Link Smart plug and switch working on WiFi, I have eleven in all. To control them I bought two Google Home mini, so I just ask Google Home to turn on or off a light or a group of light, and this work perfectly.

Since then I must reboot frequently my router, because my WiFi connection stop working. I also have an ATA adaptor for my IP phone. This box is connected to the router with a cable, but it also stops working, so I must reset both boxes. Most of the time this happen in the morning.

I tough that my D-Link 655 was not able to support 15 WiFi devices including computers and phone, even though the traffic is very small. Home automation is not supposed to create noticeable traffic. I was looking for a new router. But as you said it seem to be a Google Home misbehavior. I don’t have Chromecast or other similar applications.

So, the problem is not related to the use of Chromecast. I am happy to know that I am not alone with this problem.

If D-Link read that post, can you work on a fix for that situation? And Google, you should rethink the way you make the Google Home working.

buzzallnight's picture

wireless connections drop out intermittently, or the router freezes up completely.

Use cat 5 or 6 cable

problem solved!