How to troubleshoot Chromecast network problems
If your Chromecast experience is beset with stuttering, buffering or other connection issues, our handy guide will put you right.
Google's Chromecast is the little streamer that could. It's a deceptively simple device that has proven to be the go-to dongle for streaming movies, TV, music and more, all in the comfort of your lounge room.
The new Ultra, released earlier this year, even adds support for streaming in 4K Ultra HD with HDR – something that will make a big difference for many homes.
If you want to watch something, you want it to work. Here are some simple fixes if you're having network issues with any one of the Chromecast family.
Reboot your modem and/or router
It's a cliché, but it's always surprising what you can solve with a simple power cycle. Switch it off, give it a second, switch it back on, wait a few minutes and try again. Make this your first port of call.
Change the Chromecast power source
The Chromecast may be tiny, but that doesn't mean it doesn't need power to run properly. In an ideal world, you could just plug it into your TV's USB but not all television USB ports are created equal. If your TV has a dedicated USB port for powering devices, make sure it's plugged in there. Better yet, use the wall socket adaptor that came with the Chromecast.
Move it, move it
Casting a tab takes a fair bit of bandwidth and you need to have a solid connection to your Wi-Fi. The TV itself can be an impressive signal blocker, so use the HDMI extender cable that came with your Chromecast to adjust the position of the device.
You can also try it the other way around and shuffle that router so it's a bit closer to the TV to see if that makes a difference.
Is your router in a completely different part of the house to the Chromecast? It might to time to grab a range extender. These are networking devices that grab your Wi-Fi signal and give it a boost, helping it make it to the other end of the house where it's needed.
Most modern routers will let you use two bands, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. While the very first Chromecast was 2.4GHz only, it's been 5-by-5 for a while, so make sure you're connecting to the 5GHz band. It always makes for a little more oomph when it comes to casting media.
What else is eating your bandwidth?
Again, the Chromecast needs room to move on your network, so what else is clogging up your Wi-Fi? If you discover that you've got BitTorent running and an Xbox update also downloading, don't be surprised when the Chromecast begins to stutter.
Quality of Service check
In your router's admin settings (and it'll be different for each one), you'll find a way of adjusting the Quality of Service or QoS. This is basically how your router chooses to prioritise bandwidth availability for different services. Make sure that you're telling it to give all the love to media streaming.
What about the cables?
The Chromecast Ultra has support for an ethernet connection, which renders all of these Wi-Fi issues completely moot. But you might have a hassle with the ethernet adaptor occasionally. To fix it, follow these directions:
Step one: Reboot! Unplug the Chromecast Ultra from the power socket and leave it for one minute. Then try again.
Step two: Unplug the ethernet cable and leave it for a minute before trying again. This is basic stuff, but it's worth trying.
Step three: Check that the other end of the ethernet cable is in the right place. It should be plugged into an active port on your router.
Step four: Check the connections. Give everything a jiggle around and make sure that it's all connected the way it's supposed to be. Loose cables can gum up anyone's day.
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