Integrating your Bark Home into existing networks

This article will help you set up the Bark Home when you have more than one networking device (like mesh units, network extenders, routers, and modems).

Understanding the difference between routers and modems

In order to access the internet, you have to buy 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

  • Modem
    A box that connects your home network to the wider internet. If it's only a modem, don't plug the Bark Home into it.
  • Router
    A box that allows all of your wired and wireless devices to share and use that internet connection at once. Check if your router is incompatible with Bark Home. If it isn't listed as incompatible, plug the Bark Home into your router's LAN1 port for the first-time setup.
  • Both modem and router (sometimes referred to as a "gateways")
    The router and modem are combined into one physical box. Check if your gateway is incompatible with Bark Home. If it isn't listed as incompatible, plug the Bark Home into your gateway's LAN1 port for the first-time setup.

Bridge Mode for modems and gateways

If you have one physical box that acts as both a modem and router, and you also have a second router hooked up to it, check if Bridge Mode is needed.

If you believe enabling Bridge Mode in your modem 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 you need Bridge Mode, it's probably not needed. Reach out to us and we can try to help.

Difference between routers and network extenders

  • Network extenders (sometimes referred to as "repeaters")
    A little box (usually with antennae) that help spread your router's Wi-Fi signal to particular areas in your home or outside. They aren't your router, so don't plug the Bark Home into an extender. Consider temporarily turning off your extender(s) when setting up Bark Home for the first time.
  • Routers
    A box that generates a Wi-Fi network. Check if your router is incompatible with Bark Home. If it isn't listed as incompatible, plug the Bark Home into your router's LAN1 port for the first-time setup.

What if my network has more than one router?

If your network has multiple routers:

  1. Plug in the Bark Home to the main router that all your managed devices are connected to (either through ethernet or Wi-Fi).
  2. Make sure any devices that were previously connected to other routers or gateways are now connected to this main router's network. 
  3. Ignore any networking devices (like routers, modems, gateways, extenders) that you see in your Bark parent app / dashboard.

Can I plug the Bark Home into a network switch?

Network switches (sometimes called "network hubs") allow you to expand the number of LAN ports available on your router.

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.

Instead, connect the Bark Home to the LAN1 port on the main router. 

Ran out of LAN ports on your router? Then, you can use this network switch for Bark Home and any other devices.

Mesh Networks

Bark Home works with most mesh networks, but they require slightly different steps to set up the Bark Home for the first time (learn more).

Firewalls

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 need to be adjusted (learn more). Here’s a list of known routers that need firewall settings adjusted.

Guest Networks

We've found a handful of routers on this list that need the guest network turned off in order to set up 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 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, users 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 custom DNS settings you have configured on your device/network.

Randomized MAC Addresses on a Device

The Bark Home remembers the devices on your home Wi-Fi network because of their unique MAC address.

Newer devices may confuse the Bark Home. Sometimes they have settings enabled that don't send out the same MAC address every time. We call these "anonymous devices" in Bark.

Here’s how to fix this issue so Bark Home will remember all of your different types of phones, tablets, watches, and computers:

Adjust randomized MAC address settings

Local Network Traffic & VLANs

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

In addition, Bark Home works with Virtual LANs ("VLANs"), as long as the devices you want filtered on are on the same VLAN as Bark Home. You will have to use port tagging to get it to work on whichever VLAN you want to use it on. 

IPv4 and IPv6 Networks

Most networks are IPv4, but if your network is IPv6 and you're having trouble with Bark Home filtering, please reach out to us.

Most routers are compatible with Bark Home. Before ordering, check whether your router is incompatible

Port Forwarding

If you've customized port forwarding on your network, those rules should not negatively impact Bark Home. 

Most routers are compatible with Bark Home. Before ordering, check whether your router is incompatible

Subnets

Some users will put devices on different subnets of their network. This is fine, but make sure that Bark Home is on the same subnet and gateway as the devices that you want to be controlled.