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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Apple TV and Google DNS Issues

Comments (10)

A few days ago I suggested anyone using Google Apps should use Google Public DNS. The performance difference at my house in Keystone (which uses Comcast) has been dramatic for almost everything.

The one disaster has been Apple TV. Suddenly, Apple TV which previously worked no longer buffered well and HD shows took an interminably long time to load.

I confirmed there was an issue by searching (in Google) for “Apple TV Google DNS.” I quickly found confirmation of the problem, but as I laboriously trolled through threads on Apple’s support site and things Google search turned up, I found no answers. Only complaints. And flame wars. And nonsense.

The only logical thing was that Google Public DNS and the Apple CDN weren’t playing nice. Trying to dig deeper into that surfaced more complaints, but no real solutions. The FAQ for Google Public DNS has a short explanation of the potential problem, but then a bunch of nonsense and self-justification for the balance of the FAQ. Again – no solution.

So I started fucking around with my Apple TV settings. Searching the Apple support site didn’t help me much except for the hint somewhere to edit the WiFi settings manually. It took me a while to figure out how to do this (Settings-General-Network-WiFi (assuming you’ve already got something set up) and then while highlighting the network hit the Center button on the Apple TV remote.

The punch line is that you leave the “Configure IP” setting alone (let it do this automatically) but change the “Configure DNS” setting to “Manual.” Then enter the DNS for your ISP. In my case, I’m using Comcast, so it’s 75.75.76.76. If you don’t know the DNS setting for your ISP, you can usually find it via Google or go back to a default config on your router setup (before you changed it to the Google Public DNS of 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.)

Voila – amazing. Lightening fast Apple TV on Comcast’s DNS, lightening fast Gmail on Google Apps, and everything else is rock solid.

Google Apps Users Should Use Google Public DNS

Comments (20)

Maybe everyone knows this, but it took me a while to realize that almost all of my performance issues with Google Apps were related to my DNS configuration. Once I switched all my machines and routers to Google Public DNS all of my performance problems went away.

It’s remarkable. Simply hard code DNS to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. Problem solved.

My office, condo, and house in Keystone are all on Comcast. For the last month I’ve been struggling in each of them. There are days that Gmail feels almost unusable – five to ten second waits between messages. Web performance was “good enough” so I assumed it was a Gmail problem.

Nope – it was a Comcast DNS problem.

In hindsight, this is kind of obvious. But wow, what a difference it made.

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