Bark Home & Different Network Setups

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Paola
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Overview

This article covers the following topics. Click on one to jump right to it!

Do I have an advanced network setup?

If you only have 1 to 2 pieces of hardware connecting your home to the internet, then you likely have a simple network setup that will not need additional configuration in order to set up Bark Home.

Most routers are compatible with Bark Home. Before purchasing, verify that your router is compatible here

If you have a network with 3 or more pieces of networking hardware, you may wish to review this article for more information on tips for activating Bark Home in your environment.

Understanding Routers vs. Modems

In order to access the internet, you have to purchase a connection from an Internet Service Provider (ISP). When setting up the internet in your home, they often provide you with 1 or 2 pieces of hardware: a modem and/or router. Sometimes these are combined into one physical box.

  • A modem is a box that connects your home network to the wider Internet and converts fiber, cable, or phone lines into an ethernet connection that your devices can speak to.
  • A router (or gateway) is a box that allows all of your wired and wireless devices to share and use that Internet connection at once and also interact with one another locally (“LAN”) without having to do so over the Internet (e.g. printers or local gaming).

Sometimes, ISPs only provide a modem that supports wired connections, and as such, you may have also purchased and connected a router to the modem to generate a wireless (“Wi-Fi”) network. In these situations, you just have to plug in the Bark Home into the router's LAN1 port. See here for more information on setup.

If all you have is a modem/router combination unit provided by your ISP that supports both wired and wireless connections, you can plug in the Bark Home into that unit's LAN1 port. See here for more information on setup.

Depending on your situation, you may also need to bridge the modem/router combination unit in order to ensure only the one router is managing your network (and thus also ensuring there aren’t multiple pathways to the internet that could bypass Bark’s protections). If you believe this advanced configuration is necessary for your network, please refer to your ISP's knowledge base or contact them for instructions on doing this. If you are not sure whether this applies to you, you can always reach out to us for help.

Understanding Routers vs. Network Extenders

If your router's wireless signal has trouble reaching areas of your home, you may have considered a network extender (sometimes called "Wi-Fi boosters"). Extenders are basically an add-on that can help spread the wireless signal farther away, allowing your family to connect to Wi-Fi outside, in the basement, or wherever they couldn't find signal before. 

Extenders repeat the Wi-Fi signal that the router broadcasts, so we do not recommend plugging the Bark Home into an extender -- you may run into unexpected issues. Plug the Bark Home directly into the main router to ensure coverage of all Wi-Fi connected devices in your home. You may wish to temporarily power down the extender until you've paired Bark Home with the router. Then, plug the extender back in. See here for more information setup.

If you've successfully activated the Bark Home with the router but your network extender is acting unexpectedly, then you may need to identify the extender in your Devices page on the dashboard and ignore it.

🚧 Caution: Some extenders may result in duplicate devices in the Devices page due to their use of a function called network address translation ("NAT"). Click here for more information on how to address this issue.

Networks Using More Than One Router

Some families have more than one router set up. If that's the case, consider the following:

Plug in the Bark Home into the router to which all devices you want to manage are connected (whether via cord or via Wi-Fi). This means that in situations where the modem is not providing a wireless signal, you will want to plug in the Bark Home into the router that provides a wireless signal.

You will then want to make sure any devices previously plugged into the modem (if applicable) are plugged into the router going forward. This allows Bark Home to filter all devices on the network whether they're hard-wired or connected via Wi-Fi.

🚧 Caution: Routers often perform a function called network address translation (“NAT”). If you have multiple routers in your network doing this, it may result in duplicate devices in the Devices page. Click here for more information on how to address duplicate devices.

Networks Using Network Switches

Network Switches (sometimes called "network hubs") allow you to expand the number of LAN ports available on your router. It's a similar concept to running out of USB ports on a computer and purchasing an extra hub that expands the number of USB ports. Network switches do the same thing, but for your router's LAN ports.

Because some network switches have other technology inside of them, as a best practice we do not recommend plugging the Bark Home into a network switch. Plug the Bark Home into the LAN1 port on the primary router. You can then plug the network switch into a different LAN port and devices connected through it will be seen by the Bark Home. See here for more information setup.

Mesh Networks

Bark Home works with most mesh networks, but sometimes mesh systems can have issues when activating the Bark Home for the first time. When you are first setting up Bark Home, you may need to power down your mesh network's satellite units, while leaving the main unit up.

Your main unit is the one that is connected to your Internet Service Provider, while satellite units then connect to this main unit via a mesh wireless network.

Afterwards, you can power on the satellite units again. You may need to identify the satellite units in your Devices page on the dashboard and ignore them.

Networks and Firewall Settings

Most routers come with a security system commonly called a firewall. A router's firewall ensures that the traffic going between your home network and the internet is safe.

Due to the technology Bark Home uses to enforce your web filtering rules, some firewall settings may prevent the Bark Home from activating properly. For steps on finding your router settings and changing settings if applicable, click here.

Guest Networks

Guest networks will not have an impact on Bark Home filtering most of the time. We've found a handful of routers on this list that need the guest network turned off in order to activate the Bark Home, but most routers do not need the guest network turned off if you use that feature.

🚧 Caution: If your guest network is isolated from your primary network (often via “VLAN”), the Bark Home will only be able to see and manage devices on your primary network. Some routers do segment your network automatically and essentially create two completely separate networks when you enable Guest privileges. If that is the case for your network, you will need to disable your Guest network or disable isolation in order for all devices to be seen and managed by Bark Home.

Mobile Hotspots or Satellite Connections

Bark Home was developed for use with a typical home router. If you are connected to the internet via LTE or satellite, you may need to add a router between your device(s) and the modem/connection provided.

NAT Acceleration

Some routers offer a feature known as NAT acceleration (also known as “Express Forwarding”). If your router is capable of NAT acceleration and you're having connectivity trouble with Bark Home on your network, we recommend turning NAT acceleration off. Check your router's knowledge base for instructions on turning off NAT acceleration, and click here for a list of known routers that need NAT acceleration disabled.

Custom DNS Settings on a Device

Because of how Bark Home's web filtering technology works, you won't be able to use custom DNS settings on a device to circumvent Bark’s protections. 

Bark also does not override your custom DNS settings. If a site is allowed to be accessed by your Bark settings, the name resolution will be completed by whatever settings you have configured on your device/network.

Randomized MAC Addresses on a Device

If you’ve identified a device for Bark Home, you may have become familiarized with the concept of MAC Addresses -- a unique identifier for all internet-based devices produced in the world. The MAC Address is what allows Bark Home to remember a device and apply the rules you’ve set for that device’s assigned profile. 

iOS 14 and Android 10 devices have a setting enabled by default that periodically changes the MAC Address a device reports to devices like Bark Home. On Android 10, it’s called Randomized MAC and on iOS 14 it’s called Private Address.

This setting will result in duplicate devices in your Unmanaged Devices list. Click here for more information on adjusting that setting on your family’s iOS 14 and Android 10 devices so that you don’t have to continuously assign those duplicates to your children’s profiles.

Local Network Traffic

Bark Home does not block local network traffic (“LAN”), like printers, backups, or local ("LAN") multiplayer games.

 

Have additional questions?

Don't hesitate to reach out to us.