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Google’s smart speakers are crashing some Wi-Fi networks.
If you’re a Google Home or Chromecast owner and have been experiencing unexplained Wi-Fi problems in your home, you’re not alone. Apparently Google’s smart devices are overloading some routers and causing network problems.
“My Google Home Max arrived today. Initial setup was fine, everything was working (Assistant, streaming services), but then my Wi-Fi network went down, which required a hard restart of modem and router to fix,” forum member Alastair Hidden wrote in mid-December. “It took it going down a few more times for me to realize the Max was causing it; whenever I tried to stream radio or Spotify, the Wi-Fi died and had to be restarted.”
Since this initial post, numerous others have reported Wi-Fi problems linked not just to their Google Home Max units, but also to Google Home and Chromecast devices, too. The router issue is also more extensive. Those with different TP-Link models, Linksys, Asus, Synology, and other routers also report the same Wi-Fi problems. Some report that their router will only temporarily disconnect from the internet, while for others, the lack of connectivity lasts for extended periods.
This sort of thing has happened before, and in the past has been related to the “cast” feature in Google apps and Android devices. When a device has been asleep for a long time and then is awakened, it can overload the router with a large number of MDNS multicast discovery packets, a TP-Link engineer explains. This can cause some of a router’s main features, such as wireless connectivity, to stop working.
While Google hasn’t released an official fix, a representative posting in Google’s forums said that it’s working on a solution. In the meantime, some users have found that taking the Google device in question off of the network fixes the issue. Others tried connecting the device to the network via ethernet as a temporary fix. TP-Link has also released a beta firmware update to address the problem specifically for Archer C7 router owners.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.