UniFi - Best Practices for Managing Chromecast/Google Home on UniFi Network


 Overview


This article will explain best practices for configuring your UniFi network with Chromecast/Google Home devices.

NOTES & REQUIREMENTS:
 
This guide assumes the use of a UniFi Security Gateway. If your network does not, some of the steps below may not apply. 

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Create a Separate SSID/VLAN
  3. Enable MulticastDNS Service
  4. Connect Chromecast/Google Home to your new SSID
  5. Test Streaming/Discovery
  6. Related Articles

Introduction


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Using Chromecast and/or Google Home can introduce some potential issues to your UniFi Network. This article will explain how to configure your UniFi network so you can enjoy the benefits of these devices while limiting any potential negative impact on performance.

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Chromecast and Google Home are both devices that are gaining popularity for both home and enterprise deployments (moreso Chromecast). Both types of devices rely on wireless connectivity to access media and stream it from local wireless clients to these media devices. Use of these devices can introduce some logistical concerns to your UniFi network, especially for deployments with a large number of devices.

Some key considerations:

  • How will local wireless clients discover the Chromecast/Google Home devices?
  • How can I segment traffic to prevent broadcast/multicast traffic related to the operation of these devices from adversely affecting other users?
  • How can I ensure that devices on my network can access these services without difficulty?

This article will discuss some recommended configurations of your UniFi network when using these devices.


Create a Separate SSID/VLAN


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To help segment and isolate traffic related to your Chromecast and Google Home devices, it is recommended to put these devices on a separate VLAN. This is possible with use of the USG’s MulticastDNS service that helps devices discover devices like Chromecast.

  1. First, let’s walkthrough how to setup a VLAN in the UniFi Controller. Follow these steps:
    1. Go to Settings > Networks.
    2. Click "Add New Network".
    3. Select "Corporate" network type.
    4. Assign a VLAN# to your network: in this example 55.
    5. Define the DHCP scope--e.g. 192.168.55.1/24.
    6. Click "Update DHCP Range".
    7. Enable IGMP Snooping as it can help with multicast traffic.
    8. Configure any other desired settings and click "Save".chromecast2.png
  2. Next, create a dedicated SSID for your Chromecast/Google Home and other IoT devices and assign it the proper VLAN:
    1. Go to Settings > Wireless Networks > Create Wireless Network.
    2. Enter a name for your new wireless network i.e. “TestIoT”.
    3. In most cases, you’ll want to select WPA Personal for Security Type.
    4. Enter a secure Security Key that can be used to authenticate to this network.
    5. Assign the VLAN ID associated with the network created earlier, by clicking “Use VLAN” checkbox, and entering the number associated with the VLAN, in this example 55.
    6. Click "Save" to finish. 

chromecast3.png


Enable MulticastDNS Service


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3. Next, we need to enable the Multicast DNS service on the USG to ensure that the devices are able to discover the Chromecast/Google Home devices without issue. To do so: 

3.1. Go to Settings > Services > MDNS

3.2. Switch the “Enable Multicast DNS” button to ON

3.3. Click "Apply Changes"

 chromecast4.png 


Connect Chromecast/Google Home to New SSID


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After you have completed the above steps, you have configured everything necessary in UniFi. All that is then needed is to connect your Chromecast/Google Home devices to your new SSID associated with the new VLAN.

4. To do this, open the “Home” app made by Google. Select the device you wish to configure, and then forget the network as shown:

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4.1. Click “Forget” next to the previous Wi-Fi Network, then "Forget Network".

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4.2. You will then need to setup the Chromecast and connect to the new SSID you created.

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4.3. After you have finished adding the new network, you should be ready to test streaming on your Chromecast. 


Test Streaming and Discovery


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To confirm everything is working, test Chromecast by connecting a wireless client like a laptop or mobile device to your original SSID, the one that your Chromecast is not connected to.

Once connected, open a video on a site like YouTube, and click the Chromecast button in the top right.

chromecast8.png

If you have setup everything properly, you should then see your Chromecast device listed as shown below. Select the proper Chromecast device and enjoy streaming!

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Use a similar method to test proper discovery and audio streaming to a Google Home device as well. 


Related Articles


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UniFi - Managing Broadcast Traffic

UniFi - Using VLANs with UniFi Wireless, Routing & Switching Hardware