back to article Google's Chromecast Audio busted BT home routers – now it has a fix

Google has kicked out a workaround of sorts for Chromecast Audio devices that have been causing BT routers to constantly reset themselves. The Mountain View ads giant is advising BT subscribers to, if possible, find another router they can use to connect their Chromecast Audio unit to in order to get the latest version of the …

  1. David 132 Silver badge

    So who's to blame?

    Ok, Google have made a patch available, but how come a client device like the Chromecast could cause the BT routers to reboot&reset in the first place?

    Methinks the BT router is the real weak link here.

    Though I admit that waiting for BT to issue a patch would be extremely futile, so it's just as well that Google have a workaround.

    1. edge_e

      Re: So who's to blame?

      That's exactly what I was wondering. If Chromecast can cause the router to reboot/reset then clearly it can be achieved for the lols. I wonder if it can be made to run arbitrary code while it's at it?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: So who's to blame?

      It could be that Chromecast is blatting out a load of bad packets and the switch on the router is rebooting as a precautionary measure (proper switches will lock out the port).

      If it's affecting BT routers, good chance it will affect Plusnet ones as well.

      I think both are to blame, BT router for doing a stupid thing like total reset and Google for pushing out IoT tat, that causes this issue when it's been recorded in pre-release.

      1. William 3 Bronze badge

        Re: So who's to blame?

        So every other router is fine with Chromecast apart from BT

        Thus it must be the Chromecast.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: So who's to blame?

      It's not working nicely with other routers either, check out the Google Product Forums for a list of complaints a mile long.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So who's to blame?

      I think BT routers are very good devices if they try to stop Google's crap phoning home with your data, even if this requires they commit suicide...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: So who's to blame?

      Perhaps Google's spying is interfering with BT's spying causing router confusion.

    6. Olius

      Re: So who's to blame?

      I'm going to put my "Pretending I don't know much about how this stuff works" hat on and say it is the Router's fault.

      The router's job is to split, splice and forward packets. If the packets are malformed, they should be dropped, otherwise they should be passed (within the bounds of any rules programmed in to the router). It should not be possible to crash a router by sending "bad" packets to it, and if a particular router can be crashed in this way then this leaves open a trivial DoS attack on said router.

      It's not all that different to a user typing data in to an application - if the app crashes because the user mistyped bad data in to it, that is the app's fault: it should be validating its input and complaining appropriately.

      Without that hat on, I know this is easier said than done, because networking is hard.

    7. Oh Homer

      Re: So who's to blame?

      Possibly both, but certainly the router.

      If the Chromecast is breaking protocol, then the HomeHub should fail gracefully.

      If the Chromecast is correctly following protocol, then the HomeHub is failing to handle it correctly.

      Either way the router shares at least half the blame.

      1. gnarlymarley

        Re: So who's to blame?

        If the Chromecast is breaking protocol, then the HomeHub should fail gracefully.

        A.K.A....... This means BT really should provide a router fix as they are allowing a type of DDOS to take their routers down.

  2. Ole Juul

    getting the update

    I'll be waiting for my floppy in the mail.

    1. W4YBO

      Re: getting the update

      Maybe a CD stuck to the cover of the next issue of The Register?

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: getting the update

        Maybe a CD stuck to the cover of the next issue of The Register?

        Psh, get outta here n00b, it needs to be a minimum of 4 pages of printed BASIC listing, needing to be typed in by hand, with no checksums. No school like the old school.

        Ah, who are we kidding, we both know it's IoT so it'll be delivered by The Cloud (do it locally across the LAN? how old-fashioned and LUDDITE) and require at least one account signup, three items of personal data including your DOB and blood-type, and a live internet connection with 47 ports forwarded. And then next week they'll push out another update without asking, that will add toast-making capability to your Chromecast and mandatory Facebook / Twitter integration (while disabling the audio casting functionality because "our strategic priorities have re-aligned" or somesuch).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Delivered by the cloud

          Delivered by the cloud means you have to put it outside and wait for updates to rain in?

  3. MNGrrrl

    "simple" solution...

    Just roll your own dns server, and dump a zone file in it to pretend to be whatever server the router needs to connect to... then put an http server on it or something. You could probably use VMware player for it, or similar... and run it on a linux micro distribution. Also... Google... grow a brain. -_-

    1. fruitoftheloon

      @ MNGrrrl: Re: "simple" solution...


      meanwhile back in the real world....

      Assuming you were not posting in jest, do you realise how many folk genuinely believe that Google IS the internet, and have no idea at all what a 'router' is, aside from being great to make lovely shapes on long bits of wood?...


    2. petef

      Re: "simple" solution...

      Unfortunately BT/PN routers lock down the DNS settings, you are stuck with their servers.

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    "Chromecast Audio devices were eventually fingered as the culprit, and after disconnecting the devices, the BT routers operated as normal."

    Sorry, but the Chromecast isn't then the culprit.

    What kind of junky router falls over on ANY user traffic from the internal network?

    Answer: A BT junky router.

    Seriously, people, throw the router, and your ISP with it, and stop blaming ChromeCast.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      This reminds me of old modems that used to have a problem with Fortran...

      It made no obvious sense, why should transferring files written in one programming language be an issue, but eventually it was root-caused. The standard way to write a comment in Fortran source is to put a 'C' character in column one of the file, and some people used to mark out block comments by holding down the C key, creating things like


      C This is a big comment

      C over several lines


      It turned out that the modem error-correcting protocol didn't expect a long sequence of 01000011010000110100001101000011010000110100001101000011 from 60-odd consecutive 'C' characters, and would lose sync on some less-than-perfect lines...

      1. Warm Braw

        We had an early leased line from Telewest that exhibited similar problems - but in that case the modem had been installed with the diagnostics still engaged that triggered a loopback when a specific bit pattern occurred in the data. Took them weeks to figure that one out.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Data pattern sensitivity" has always been a potential problem in computers or networks.

          A customer's connection through another supplier's WAN repeatedly failed to transfer one particular file. One packet would always arrive with a predictable single bit corruption. The network owner, a major player, had no facilities to do packet capture on all of their nodes' interconnections that formed the path.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Configure a torrent client the right way (to download your Linux ISOs, of course) and odds are you can get your router to die.

  5. hplasm

    WTF are the BT routers doing reacting to anything over the wire?

    Are they still running Phorm firmware?

  6. jason 7

    BT Homehubs and Amazon Echo

    When that came out about 8 weeks ago it was a major issue on the Amazon Support forum that the BT Hubs wouldn't work with the Echo.

    Don't know if that's been fixed.

    1. Michael H

      Re: BT Homehubs and Amazon Echo

      It's not been fixed, only mitigated. It seems that the Echo struggles with the BT default settings of broadcasting 2.4GHz and 5GHz APs with the same SSID (I've noticed quite a lot of devices struggle with it actually, so I split them out in the settings a while back)

      1. Glenturret Single Malt

        Re: BT Homehubs and Amazon Echo

        I would echo all that has ben said about the reliability of BT routers (although I do not use Google Chromecast). Like Michael H, I had a different SSID for the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands but since the latest (SmartHub or HH6), I do not apear to be able to do this.

  7. Neill Mitchell

    I wonder if this is why BT have failed to answer my calls within 15 minutes on the last 3 attempts.

    No wait, that's just normal. My call is important to them though, which is nice.

  8. David Roberts

    Slight logical problem?

    From the article it appears that the device can only be updated over the Internet. No facility to update locally over the LAN or to use USB.

    Nice central control until there is a problem connecting to the Internet. Then you are in the same space as having a web site as the only route to report Internet problems, or the traditional "send an email" to report email problems.

    This may make loading custom firmware more difficult, but the downside is now being demonstrated.

    More details on the exact problem, please.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Slight logical problem?

      From the article it appears that the device can only be updated over the Internet. No facility to update locally over the LAN or to use USB

      My full-fat Chromecast updates firmware from the net but it can be instructed from the LAN - It has to be that way for the Chrome browser or a mobile to be able to tell it what to cast.

      But it likely will be that it doesn't have any capability to get firmware from the LAN simply to stop people loading their own firmware on it.

      There are ways to hijack the Chromecast using MITM techniques but if the problem is in establishing a connection between the Chromecast and router there won't be anything there to hijack.

      The best solution would be to take the Chromecast round to a friend's house who doesn't have a BT modem, let it update the firmware, then take it home again.

  9. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Not related to article:

    My Chromecast Audio works with my Huawei phone, but not with my housemate's Nexus 5. Weird, but just writing the last sentence has jogged my brain onto a possible cause - I use Google Play Music, my housemate uses Spotify, so it might be an issue with the client app and not the phone itself. Hmm, a line of enquiry to be confirmed or eliminated later - I'll just try something from iPlayer Radio on the Nexus.

    1. Dylan Byford

      Re: Not related to article:

      My Chromecast Audio doesn't seem to work with anything. I know you can use Google Music but it makes me upload all my locally held music and I don't want to crash my broadband usage. Nothing else seems to work without it sounding ropey. Waste of money! Was hoping to stream music from MyCloud through it. Will happily unplug for the time being until BT and Google sort themselves out.

  10. TonyJ

    BT Hubs...

    ...generally just seem to suck.

    I have BT Business Infinity Fibre. Simply because I was pretty much holding down the refresh button 4 years ago to get news of when fibre would be available in my area and BT were, at the time, the only provider (side laugh - my "technical" neighbour seeing the van asked if I had a phone problem...when I explained I was having fibre installed he said I was mistaken as it wasn't available...).

    Anyway the BT Business Hub 3 was truly awful.

    The wireless was quite simply the poorest quality I've ever come across, so that was turned off almost on the first day.

    Alas because of the oddity of how BT did (still do?) their static IP allocation, until the start of this year there was no real option to change it for the PPoE part so it ultimately had to hang around. Until I put in Sophos UTM (second side note - free home version for up to 50 end points).

    Best thing I ever did - immediate uplift of around 20% performance and it's consistent.

  11. Dr. G. Freeman

    A fix is proposed

    Ok, to fix this....

    First, get a large axe.

    Introduce the sharp end to the BT hub by usual axe swinging protocol.

    Repeat until rage at BT subsides or you run out of router.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A fix is proposed

      Reminds me of Mickey Mouse's attempts in Fantasia - the pieces will probably just multiply into more clone routers.

  12. Timbo

    Given that BT (and PlusNet) have a lot of customers, one would assume that most peoples friends will also be on BT/PN?

    So, surely a quicker option is just set up a hotspot on an Android phone and connect the ChromeCast to that, via the WiFI connection?

    (I don't know how big a download the CC firmware would be, so, check first you can accommodate the download within your "free data" allowance).

  13. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    BT HomeHub

    In my experience, BT HomeHubs aren't the most reliable things on the planet. I was less than impressed with my original HH, and swapped it out for a rd party one quite quickly. That was a few years ago, and things haven't improved over time. I got the latest HH from BT when I upgraded to Infinity2 earlier last year. Performance, when it was playing nicely, was good, but the router used to reset itself with annoying frequency...several times per day.

    I didn't know if the issue was at the HomeHub end or in the BT plumbing, but I took a gamble and got myself a NetGear modem/router instead, which has been a lot more reliable.

  14. joma0711


    Draytek 2860s (used to?) crash repeatedly, but only when Apple Devices (Bonjour noisiness), or a Plex server (GDM noisiness), were on the LAN. Both flavours of mDNS I believe. I'm guessing there may be something similar going on here.

    I don't think Draytek ever fixed it - I complained to them so long and loud, with packet traces etc. etc. that they swapped me to a 2925 instead which didn't do it.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    The BT routers are absolutely pathetic. They can't handle "traffic" well at all. One of our customers had in their office a BT Home Hub Router rebadged as a "BT Business Hub", and it basically fell over with DNS requests. It would either reset, or just not respond to DNS requests when it got busy, and was so slow anyway that users in the office began to complain. We did an hours' worth of diagnosis, and recommended they got a Draytek router. Problem immediately went away with the new router.

    This is just one story of many where we have found the problem to be caused by residential-grade routers, and especially BT routers. They even have a feature that when they detect a new device, will intercept HTTP requests and present a page trying to get you to download their BT Network Assistant shit. Not much use on a tablet or phone of course.

    That company is not competent. The best advice I have for anyone using their internet service or "router" is to change providers and buy a proper router. Remember, this isn't the first time there have been problems with their crappy hardware.

  17. Pat 11

    Other routers

    I wonder if this is why my non-BT router keeps crashing.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A little balance...

    HH4 here. 7 laptops (2 adults, 3 kids, 2 work), 1 desktop, 2 printers, 2 tablets, 5 phones, 2 video Chromecasts, 1 Audio, 5 Kindles, PS3, Xbox, Wii, NAS, CCTV. OK, not all connected at the same time, but, there can be quite a lot of them at times. Maybe, we have a few too many gadgets.

    Not a problem with the HH, can't remember the last time it rebooted, apart from the power cut that happened whilst I was typing this!

    Obviously YMMV.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: A little balance...

      Inclined to agree. My HH4 drivers two laptops, various tablets (some very old), a Amazon Firestick, mobile phones etc over wireless, and also a SS TV and PVR wired direct to router. There's a PS3 wired via a powerline network, and a Wi. There's and a desktop and NAS via another switch.

      Don't remember it ever going wrong.

      Previous router would not work with the Lenovo laptops wireless system, or was so erratic to be unusable.

      On the other hand, I cannot turn on the Humax PVR share feature so I can play back stuff on a different device because it conflicts with the NAS and it's UPNP server (or something). Neither supplier (Humax and Xylel) want to admit the problem is theirs, so nothing get fixed.

    2. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

      Re: A little balance...

      Business hub 5 - 8 machines, 8 phones (BT Cloud voice), if the BH5 does the wifi and routing/vdsl2 work, it needs to be rebooted ever 3 or so hours due to overheating.

      Using it just for the routing/vdsl2 (everything else on the end of a bridge to a new office, new wap, etc), and it stayed up for 14 days with out even a resync.

      They are built down to a price, and you get what you pay for.

  19. Jonathan Knight

    Not just Chromecast

    My Humax FVP-4000T will cause the BT router to reset constantly if connected via the ethernet port. It works fine on WiFi.

    I think the BT router has some issues.

  20. David Austin

    Home & Business Hubs do their job OK...

    ...but their job is to be an all in one box in a SOHO Environment: Of the freebie routers given away with an internet connection, they're at the higher end of the scale: have you seen the tin pot TalkTalk will give you? And the less said about Virgin SuperHubs, which block Outbound VPN Connections by default and seem to need a lot of restarts, the better.

    If you're doing anything with a lot of routing and firewall rules, or you have more than 20-odd devices connecting to it, then the BT Hubs, along with most other ISP giveaway routers, will either become unstable or be a bottleneck. BT Would save themselves a lot of headaches if they told people that, and gently pointed people in the direction of something like a Vigor 2800 series

  21. Andrew Jones 2

    Just to say the only thing the Chromecasts are doing is broadcasting an mDNS packet that looks a bit like this:


    md=Chromecast.ic=/setup/icon.png.fn=DH Master<PIN><MAC>.rs=<APP NAME>...!.....x.-.....I$3e<UID>...........x.....Q............._googlecast._tcp.local........x..

    If the BT router is rebooting and factory resetting itself because it doesn't like the mDNS packets - that really is BTs fault.

  22. Calum Morrison

    Now I understand...

    My HH5 started doing this last week for no (at the time) apparent reason; boot up, connect, reboot. Glad I didn't know it was my Chromecasts as I'd have felt guilty about politely, but firmly, demanding a new HH after waiting to get through to support for an hour. New hub seems to have sorted it but what fun it was rebuilding a home network that seems to have grown more and more complex.

    On the basis that bot HH and Chromecasts worked fine together for a year or so, I'm guessing an update to the latter is what borked the thing. Do BT ever update their firmware?

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