Thursday, August 8, 2013

First chromecast experience - problems with Corporate WiFi.

I got the Chromecast finally and was eager to try it out.  If you saw my previous post, I was hoping to test it in our small-group learning rooms to share content from each student's mobile device.

The directions are so simple that you can read them upside down!  The monitor I was trying it on has the HDMI and USB ports co-located and thus made it easy to plug in the stick and its USB powered supply cord.  Once you change the monitor input to the HDMI port, it shows the set up screen.
Next you use your smart mobile device to navigate to google.com/chromecast/setup.  On my Win 7 laptop it downloaded an app to help me connect to Chromecast and configure it.  Right now there is no app for iOS and so on my iPhone I could connect to it via my Chrome browser.  Chromecast sets up a hotspot around it that lets your mobile device connect to it to set up the WiFi.
My problem was that Chromecast was not able to connect to either our secure corporate WiFi (LEAP).  I then tried our Public WiFi but it requires users to accept a boilerplate agreement.  Unfortunately there is no way to accept this agreement on a monitor with Chromecast.  
So my last attempt was to try a Verizon MiFi.  This worked reasonably well and I was able to test the system.  The best news is that I was able to project a tab from Chrome to the monitor.  There was a bit of lag with scrolling.  The most disconcerting thing was that you don't see the cursor on the monitor.  So you have to look at your mobile device to use the mouse but the entire audience can see the content on your screen.  

So overall I am happy with the ability to cast content from a Chrome tab though the lag and the absence of the cursor are small drawbacks.
The inability to connect to even a public WiFi due to inability to accept an agreement needs to be fixed.  This may be a problem with other entertainment devices like Roku but is a clear handicap when trying to use Chromecast at work or in a hotel for example.