How to Keep Friends From Trolling Your Chromecast

If you have a Chromecast and have pesky friends or roommates, you’re probably tired of them interrupting your movie watching by streaming silly videos to your device . Ricrolls are funny the first time, not the 26th, and especially when you invest in your favorite TV show or movie.

Chromecast makes it easy to stream media to your connected TV, but that ease of use is also the device’s Achilles heel. Anyone on the same wireless network as the Chromecast can stream to it whether you like it or not.

While Google could easily fix this if it allowed the person who last broadcast some of the content – or even the registered Chromecast owner – to approve all streaming requests, it didn’t offer the feature . And you probably don’t want to make new roommates – maybe friends, but not roommates.

In the meantime, you have two basic tricks you can use to protect your Chromecast from others, both of which have to do with managing the network that your little streaming stick or puck is connected to. (This is in addition to disabling Cast media control notifications , which you should do so that others are not tempted to contact you when you start streaming.)

Set up yourself a guest network

If you’re lucky, your router might broadcast a “guest network” for others to use. In such a case, there are two ways you can use the guest network to secure your Chromecast. First, give your friends and roommates a password for the guest network, and they won’t be able to access your devices on your wired or wireless network unless you specifically allow them through your router settings (if you can).

Or, you can put your Chromecast on a guest network and never share the guest’s Wi-Fi password. You will need to be online to stream media to whatever your Chromecast is physically connected to, which will be a little annoying, but at least keep your Chromecast isolated from other Wi-Fi networks. While you are doing this, you can also connect all of your smart devices to the guest network, as it is good security practice to isolate less secure devices on your home network.

Use VLANs to isolate your devices

I touched on this a bit in my network switch configuration guide , but you can also go a little crazy with VLANs – virtual local area networks – if your router or managed switch supports this feature. In short, VLANs allow you to create isolated networks and establish rules for the transfer of data between them.

So, for example, if you are running a home network, you can always connect your roommates’ Ethernet connections to a separate VLAN and use access controls to prevent them from talking to your VLAN. They will be able to access the Internet without any problems, but will not be able to communicate with any devices on your VLAN, including a Chromecast that you connected to your network over Ethernet, or connected via a wireless hotspot that is itself connected to your network.

VLAN requires a little more tweak and know-how than blocking your Chromecast from being able to control your Wi-Fi, but it can be a great solution depending on your home network configuration.


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