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How to Connect Google Home to Public WiFi

Last Updated Jun 22, 2022
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If you’re interested in connecting your Google Home to public WiFi, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. If you don’t hook the Google Home up correctly, you may leave your home (or apartment, or dorm room) susceptible to security breaches. Unsecured WiFi might not be the best option for setting up your device in a public space. 

Below you’ll learn exactly how to install public WiFi on your Google Home and how to secure it. You’ll also get a few tips on connecting to public networks that are protected by login authentication pages. Read on to learn more about connecting your Google Home to public WiFi and how to pull it off. 

Connecting Google Home to Public WiFi

On a technical level, connecting Google Home to public WiFi isn’t that complicated. Many of the connections in the device will sync automatically to available networks once you activate them. Here’s a breakdown of how to connect your Google Home to an unsecured public WiFi network: 

  • Turn on your phone’s WiFi or Bluetooth functionality. If you’ve got a WiFi password for a secured public network, make sure you have the password available as reference. Check to see that your chosen wireless network is visible.
  • Activate your Google Home. Plug the device in and turn it on. Allow the Google Home to power up.
  • Set up the Google Home app. You can download the app for Google Home for both iOS and Android operating systems, and it may come as a default program on your phone or tablet. Make sure that you download the latest version of the app to avoid connectivity issues.
  • Access your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, create a Google account now. If you already have a Google account, be sure to attach your Google Home to your main Google account since this will give you access to your other synced Google services, such as Google Calendar.
  • Set up the Google Home as a new device. In your Google Home app, find the plus icon and select it, then select Set up device and New Device. Follow the on-screen prompts to finalize the setup of the device.

When connecting your Google Home to public WiFi, the biggest challenge to this process is gaining access to the wireless network. In some cases, login authentication can complicate the process of setting up a Google Home on a public network. 

Can Google Home Work on Public WiFi?

Google Home can be used on public Wifi because it can be connected to any open wireless connection. However, there are a few Internet security protocols you need to consider if you’re going to try and hook up to a public WiFi network with this device. Here are some things that may affect your ability to hook Google Home up to your public WiFi network: 

  • Authentication: It’s not possible to hook Google Home up into a public WiFi network without a direct access port if it has a login authentication page that gates people into the wireless network. Google Home only works via an Ethernet hookup or on a standard home wireless connection where the SSID and network information can be input directly.
  • WiFi-Protected Access (WPA): Some public WiFi networks, such as those used on university campuses, may be subject to additional WPA security protocols that make it difficult for people to “piggyback” on the wireless network with shared devices. Public networks may also install firewalls that interfere with Google Home connectivity.
  • Media Access Control (MAC) points: Some public WiFi networks may have protocols against unknown MACs being linked into the overarching wireless network, as this can cause systemic problems when unknown MACs are incorrectly configured.

If you’re trying to hook up your Google Home to a public WiFi network and run into authentication troubles, the easiest way to circumvent them is to use a direct Ethernet connection. For example, many college dorm rooms include Ethernet ports for convenience. This allows you to access the network without using passwords or other security protocols. 

The other thing to consider is that if a public WiFi network doesn’t have these security protocols in place, it is easy for other users on the network to hijack your Google Home system or its network access. So public WiFi accessibility is a bit of a double-edged sword with regards to wireless security. 

Will Google Home Work on Hotel WiFi?

A Google Home will theoretically work anywhere you’ve got a functioning wireless network, but like university campuses, hotels also put security protocols in place to protect their wireless networks from unauthorized access. 

Why Is It Hard to Use Google Home in Hotels?

Hotel wireless networks usually include a security protocol known as client isolation. This term refers to the inability of wireless networks within one location to be aware of each other. This is cited for security reasons, but another major reason hotels do this is so that they can charge additional fees for wireless Internet access.

So how can you connect to Google Home at a hotel’s public WiFi? The answer is a handy dandy travel router. This small Internet router can be used to create your own access point from your hotel room to the wireless network, allowing your Google Home to connect directly without having to be gated through the hotel’s WiFi authentication. 

Google Home Can Connect to Any WiFi Network

Even though you may run into difficulty getting your Google Home to connect to a public WiFi network, this isn’t a failing of the Google Home device. 

Instead, you may be dealing with network security protocols on the WiFi network itself. Hooking up to a travel router can give you access to public WiFi networks even when WiFi login pages are firewalling your Google Home’s ability to connect.  

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