Google tackles Chromecast wi-fi blasting bug

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Launch of Google Home devicesImage source, Getty Images
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The bug might mean wi-fi suddenly drops out or becomes unreliable

Google has released a fix for a bug in Chromecast and Android devices which could temporarily knock out home wi-fi networks.

The problem emerges when Chromecast and Google Home devices wake from their low power "sleep" state.

When waking, the devices can transmit more than 100,000 packets of data, quickly overwhelming home routers.

Router makers have also produced patches to help their devices cope with similar massive data surges.

Router repair

On its support page acknowledging the bug, Google said the problem was part of the Cast software found on its Chromecast and Home devices as well as Android phones.

The Cast software lets people pipe apps or content, such as music or a movie, to another device - often a smart TV.

The problem emerges because the Cast software does not stop trying to keep in touch with other Google devices on a home network. This meant that when a Cast-ready device woke up it got sent all the packets of data it did not receive when it was inactive.

"The longer your device is in 'sleep', the larger this packet burst will be," said a report from router maker TP Link about the bug.

The huge amount of data could overwhelm a router and make it shut down or cause disruption to other devices on a home network, it said.

TP Link, Netgear, Linksys and Asus are all producing patches for their home routers, to help them handle the data surge.

In its advisory, Google said the fix would be applied as part of an update to the Cast software on the Google Play app store. It also urged people to update the firmware on their router to the latest version.