Originally Posted by TDome
I've been using 10 CCAs on a DD-WRT based WiFi mesh system with two APs (i.e. access points...or nodes in your example) and I experience all of the *exact* same issues you describe. I've tried many, many troubleshooting tactics to no avail. CCA does not play well in a multi-frequency, roaming WiFi mesh environment with multiple access points.
However, I've achieved pretty good stability by limiting each CCA to a single frequency on a single AP in order to prevent them from roaming to a potentially "better" connection on a different AP or different frequency. This is trivial using the MAC filtering functionality of DD-WRT. Since the speakers don't move locations it's not a problem to lock each CCA to the AP signal that offers the best, most consistent connection at each speaker.
I also have my WiFi network set to automatically reboot every night at 4am...so the CCAs refresh their connection at least once daily.
I've also noticed that as the phone itself roams to different WiFi APs (or loses WiFi altogether momentarily for whatever reason...) it can easily lose its connection to a cast stream (e.g. no volume or playback controls, etc.) which would be expected behavior. One solution is to re-initiate the stream (same audio stream to the same CCA group) using the initiating app (such as Pandora)...and it usually re-connects to the ongoing stream seamlessly.
I think a lot of the issues with the controller (phone) not automatically re-acquiring an ongoing cast stream after it drops/switches WiFi connectivity has to do with the Chromecast API and how certain Chromecast-enabled apps implement casting. I've seen this improve over the last two years as the CCA firmware and Google Home app are updated.
Overall, I'm happy with the pretty good, wireless, whole-house audio provided by CCA despite the seemingly inherent limitations.
Thanks for your reply. I'm not using DD-WRT - I'm using the official Orbi firmware. It doesn't have MAC filtering per AP.
I finally had it and purchased 15 ethernet interfaces. Not the official ones from google, because I didn't want to give them any more of my money given the mesh problems, but 3rd party ones (ugreen brand).
I had some spare AV1200 powerline module available. Now, nearly all the problems with Chromecasts are fixed, but not all.
Even though they are wired by Ethernet, if my internet connection drops (and it's Comcast, and it drops a lot!!!), all the CCAs suddenly disconnect from the ethernet, and switch to Wifi "setup" mode. Such a horrible design ! Especially with the recent vulnerabilities on Wifi (KRACK), which certainly won't be the last. If there is a live network signal on the ethernet interface, the CCA should never go to Wifi mode, period, regardless of whether internet is available or not.
I could be casting local content from a wired box to those CCAs, but the design of the device prevents it. This is just terrible IMO. Anyone neghbor take over all the Chromecasts over Wifi during the setup mode, and make them play whatever they want in my house. IMO, it should never switch to Wifi as long as it's wired by ethernet and there is a physical cable there. No excuse. And I would say the same if it's connected to Wifi and internet drops. Other wireless devices do not drop from Wifi just because internet is down. But this seems to be by design by google, and it's a terrible design. They have a factory reset button on the CCA , which would be perfectly fine to use for those situations when you actually *do* want to set them up again on another Wifi network. They just should not go to setup mode for each of the 3 to 15 daily Comcast outages of 1-5 minutes each that I experience. I had the Comcast guy over last friday, and he removed a filter on my cable line, but there are still intermittent problems. I'm at the end of the node on top of a hill and it may be an uphill battle to get them to fix their network. In the meantime they have issued a partial credit for my disconnects, but that just doesn't make up for this trouble. If the Chromecasts weren't so stupidly designed, I could live with the short Comcast outages. But as it is, with a network that's only up 99.0% of the time (based on overnight PING packet loss to the internet), the Chromecasts are a nightmare.
IMO, iOT devices need to be built with at least some level of resilience to Internet outages - and the CCAs unfortunately are not.
I wish there was something else anywhere near the price range of the CCA that was better designed and more open, with not just optional ethernet but also perhaps optional A/D input for analog sources. This should be doable via USB OTG just like the optional ethernet interface, if only Google implemented some support in firmware. I would only need a few A/D, maybe 2 or 3, not one for every Chromecast.
I have to hope that someone will root the device so the stupid limitations about 100% internet connection uptime expectation in the CCA firmware is removed, and maybe someone else can add some A/D support to make it more useful. Oh, and have on-board DLNA instead of having to run separate bubble uPNP server. That would make the Chromecast integrate much better with existing A/V devices. Instead, Google is trying to tie everything to their Chrome browsers and apps. I still use Firefox. Of course, I spent 10 years of my life writing security code for it. I'm not going to switch to Chrome. I don't really care about casting anything from a browser anyway.
Chromecast can cast the entire Android device output, ie. any Android app, but it's not bit-perfect. IMO, they should add the ability to cast the audio of any Android as opposed to the whole device. This would obviate the need for any Android app to be explicitly "cast-enabled".
I have seen the same problem that you report about phone losing control of stream when roaming, even those my Chromecasts are wired. But given the unreliability of my internet connection, it's really difficult for me to be sure what the cause is. The phone will also drop to 4G LTE if internet is lost over Wifi. And my Chromecasts are not in guest mode, nor are they even registered to my google account, so they cannot be used from the outside. Of course, they go to setup mode anyway if internet is dropped, and everything becomes f*cked.
What I usually see is if I have the google home app open, and it's showing for example my "whole house" group. All the Chromecasts are still displayed in the group (they no longer drop from the group, as previously when they were on wifi) but sometimes the volume control change is not effective on some of the zones. If I go "back" in the google home app, and select "devices", and then click again on the "whole house" group, it finds all the CCAs again, and the volume sliders work again. Previously when the CCAs were on wifi, the google home app would only find a random number of CCAs when doing this. Now it finds them all, this is progress. I think the google home app is still buggy, though, as there is no reason I should have to manually go back to rediscover the devices. Again, just poor implementation. Really annoying when you have guests over ringing the doorbell, and you want to stop the stream, but cannot without doing this. Also, having to figure out which room you left your phone in before that, and unlocking it with fingerprints to get to the google Home app, only to discover it doesn't work ! The user experience still has a long way to go . Some sorts of permanent keypads would really be helpful. I won't be investing in anything else Chromecast related though unless Google fixes the many existing problems that tie CCA to their own mesh system, own Chrome browser, own internet servers, and so on. I suspect that would go against their business plan, so I look forward to the day I can ditch every last one of my CCA for something better. In the meantime, I will use them, but I really have a love-hate relationship with them.
Also, Tidal does not play gapless on CCA. Terrible gaps ahead await you if you try. Using device casting works and is gapless, but not bit-perfect. And in that mode of operation, you are really casting from tidal -> smartphone -> chromecast. Ie. there are 2 wifi links involved in this mode.
Whereas by default with Tidal if you use the built-in cast support, you are just casting directly from Tidal to the chromecast, and in my setup there is no Wifi in the network at all (ethernet for the 7 CCA downstairs, powerline av + ethernet for the 8 CCA upstairs) - the tidal smartphone app only acts as controller.