Have you been experiencing Wi-Fi dropouts recently and can't explain why they are happening? Do you also own a Chromecast , Google Home, or some other device that relies on Google Cast to function? Then chances are Google may actually be the cause of your problem.
As Myce reports, the link between Google Cast and the dropouts was discovered by a TP-Link engineer after it was first reported back in October last year. Cast is Google's proprietary protocol developed to allow compatible devices to initiate and control playback of Internet-streamed content. But in order to do that, apps and devices have to be aware of each other on a local network. Packets of data are therefore sent every 20 seconds to maintain these links.
More recent versions of Android contained a flaw, though. When devices go to sleep they are meant to stop checking the network, but instead the checks just keep queuing up until the device wakes up. At that point a large burst of packets is sent across the network, in some cases over 100,000 packets get sent at very high speed. The amount of data can be so large it completely fills the memory of your router meaning a reboot is likely required to allow it to work properly again.
The flaw has seen router manufacturers react to bypass the problem through firmware updates. TP-Link, Netgear, and Linksys, already have firmware updates available to workaround the issue. Alternatively, you can opt to turn off your Google Cast devices and the problem will disappear.
According to The Register, Google has now acknowledged there is a flaw and is working to provide a fix as soon as possible.