Online play on the Nintendo Switch should be easy. Firing up a game of Mario Kart 8 or visiting a friend's island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons should be as simple as selecting the online option.
But that's not always the case. Sometimes you might get hit with a weird 'communication error' despite having a solid internet connection. If you've ever encountered this and don't know how to fix it, try this.
I first encountered this issue a few months back after swapping modems. After getting to the final stages of connecting to a shared game of Mario Kart 8 with a mate I was greeted by an error code that said "A communication error has occurred. Please try again later."
I didn't bother trying to fix it. In fact. I completely forgot about it until Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released. I happily went to visit the island of a friend before being told the console wasn't responding. It was aggravating. I needed those damn cherries.
The good news is, there's a fix that worked for me and hopefully will for you too.
How To Fix Nintendo Switch Communication Error
This is a super simple fix, just follow these instructions:
- Go to 'Settings' > 'Internet' > 'Internet Settings'
- Click on the Wi-Fi network you're connected to
- Click 'Change Settings'
- Click 'DNS Settings'
- Change from 'Automatic' to 'Manual'
- Change your 'Primary DNS' setting to '008.008.008 .008'
What this does is directs your Nintendo Switch to the Google DNS server. If this doesn't work for you, Google has a secondary server which is 126.96.36.199 that is also worth trying.
What is the Google DNS Server?
A Domain Name System (DNS) is basically the internet's phone book. If you type in a website name, such as gizmodo.com.au, DNS servers translate the name of a website to the IP address where it's actually hosted. It's a quality of life thing: remembering a website's name is a hell of a lot easier than a faceless IP address.
Google's DNS is a public service provided by Google for free. Google says that its DNS is faster, more secure and more reliable than other DNS services.
Google DNS is often used by people to get around firewalls and geoblocking.
So basically, connecting to the Google DNS will (hopefully) allow you to visit to your friends islands.