Google Device Bug Chokes Home WiFi Networks | Wireless Networking

By John P. Mello Jr.

Jan 18, 2018 10:16 AM PT

A bug within the software program utilized by Google Cast gadgets equivalent to Chromecast and Home can decelerate or crash WiFi networks.

The drawback — initially believed to be remoted to a specific router mannequin made by TP-Link — seems to have an effect on fashions made by different producers, together with Asus, Linksys, Netgear and Synology.

Complaints on a Google person discussion board introduced the issue to gentle earlier this week.

Forum person Alastair Hadden’s community issues began after putting in Google Home Max, he wrote. “Initial setup was fine, everything was working (Assistant, streaming services), but then my WiFi network went down, which required a hard restart of modem and router to fix. It took it going down a few more times for me to realize the Max was causing it.”

Forum person Ryan Crowson had an analogous expertise.

“Added a Home Max to the mix tonight and my router kept dying,” he wrote. “I couldn’t even hardwire and log into it to see what was happening, had to unplug the router every time. I had a hunch it was the Max, so I unplugged it and sure enough all other Homes starting working again without crashing my network.”

Cast Issue

The Cast characteristic on Google’s home gadgets is the perpetrator behind the WiFi issues, in keeping with a publish on the TP-Link web site. Cast sends MDNS multicast discovery packets with the intention to uncover and maintain a dwell reference to Google merchandise equivalent to Home. These packets usually are despatched in 20-second intervals.

However, after a tool wakes up from sleep mode, it generally broadcasts a considerable amount of the packets — greater than 100,000 on some events — at a really excessive pace in a brief period of time. The longer the gadget is asleep, the bigger the packet burst shall be.

This challenge ultimately might trigger a few of a router’s major options to close down — together with wi-fi connectivity, in keeping with the publish. Rebooting a router will return WiFi connectivity. Disabling the Cast characteristic will tackle the issue, too.

“Google Home and Chromecast users with Android phones may experience issues that cause their routers to respond slowly,” Paula and the Google Home product group acknowledged in a discussion board publish on Wednesday. “We apologize for any inconvenience and this week we’ll begin rolling out a fix with an update to Google Play services.”

No Brand Damage

This is not the primary time this type of bug has appeared in a Google gadget. Similar complaints emerged final 12 months about software program for the Nexus Player, a digital media participant developed by Google, Intel and Asus.

That incident did not appear to tarnish the picture of Google’s home gadgets and this one is not possible to take action both.

“It’s a short-term problem,” stated Paul Erickson, a senior analyst with IHS Markit.

“The issue isn’t on the mainstream radar,” he informed TechNewsWorld. “For the average consumer, this isn’t going to be a very visible issue.”

The drawback must be comparatively simple to repair through a software program replace, famous Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“If Google addresses the problem in short order,” he informed TechNewsWorld, “customers will quickly put it behind them.”

Bugs Unavoidable

Most folks won’t hear concerning the Cast bug earlier than Google patches it, stated Kevin Krewell, principal analyst with Tirias Research.

“WiFi is not such a reliable service that people don’t already expect random disruptions,” he informed TechNewsWorld. “Owners are more likely to blame TP Link — rightly or wrongly — when the WiFi goes down. I don’t expect any damage to Google’s reputation.”

With the proliferation of home gadgets related to WiFi networks, bugs are going to seem now and again, Krewell stated. “The most important thing is discovery and patching — just like security vulnerabilities. The most important thing for consumers is to keep their devices’ firmware up to date. An occasional reboot doesn’t hurt, either.”

Arcane Technology

While extra gadgets shall be added to home networks, they are not prone to convey the nets to their knees, because the Cast bug is doing.

“We’re going to see more devices coming into the home and that’s going to present traffic challenges, but most of these products will require very little bandwidth,” stated Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.

“Security will be a bigger issue than network congestion,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

An even bigger drawback uncovered by the Cast bug could be the arcane nature of home routers.

“Routers break down on people all the time, and it’s almost impossible to figure out what’s causing it,” famous Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.

“In this case, a bug was found,” he informed TechNewsWorld, “but there are so many instances where this occurs that it just highlights how much more work has to be done on simplifying the process of making home routers more reliable and more understandable for troubleshooting purposes.”

John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reporter
since 2003. His areas of focus embody cybersecurity, IT points, privateness, e-commerce, social media, synthetic intelligence, massive knowledge and client electronics. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with the Boston Business Journal, the
Boston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and Government
Security News
. Email John.

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