Tivo mini over VPN (1 Viewer)

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Tampa8

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Sep 8, 2003
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I have read many posts about this at the Tivo forums. Rarely do people get it to work and ended up using a Slingbox to watch remotely. I remembered seeing this however.

dboreham
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Figured I'd post here since I have just made this work (Mini interoperating with a mother-DVR located at a remote site):

First, you need Layer2 transparancy between the two units. They need to experience the same connectivity as if they were on the same Ethernet segment, so when they use broadcast and other Layer2 shenanigans (probably Bonjour, but I haven't done any analysis on how they talk) to find each other; it all works.

Second, you need a decent amount of capacity between the two sites. I have 100Mbit or so. Monitoring traffic with the Mini streaming, I see it using between 10-20Mbit/s. I don't know how much headroom you need above this base in order to keep it happy. 100Mbit is definitely enough :)

Third, perhaps you need low latency. I'm not sure. People have speculated that Tivo may have some "tunnel detector" that measures latency. I have typically less than 10ms RTT btween my two locations. Not exactly LAN speed, but perhaps less than you'd see transiting between two ISPs in the same city. Two sites both on the same CableCo in the same city I would imagine would have similar latency.

Some details about my setup, for the curious:

The network between the two sites is run by me (private microwave) and provides IPv4 connectivity through several routers (it is not bridged, not MPLS, just IP). Connecting via the public Internet should work just as well, provided the QoS is good enough. The DVR (Bolt, in my case) sits on a regular residential-type network, nothing special. The router there is configured to bridge the local LAN via a EoIP tunnel to the second site. I use Mikrotik routers which support EoIP. Typical consumer routers won't do this but you cold also use Cisco or Linux boxes. At the other site (which has its own distinct subnet, firewall, etc for regular Internet connectivity) its router is configured to feed the bridged traffic onto a VLAN that is distinct from the main LAN. Then, I used cheap VLAN-capable switches (TP-Link) to feed the Minis. These are configured to un-tag the special VLAN traffic on a per-port basis. The result is that regular devices work as before, on the local subnet, but any device plugged into one of the magic switch ports believes it is on the LAN at the other site. I experienced no problems getting the Mini to see and associate with the remote Bolt, once the network was working properly. This Mini had not previously been used with the Bolt.

Viola.
 

CharlieHorse

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 5, 2014
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OU Country, OK
I'm hoping to have enough speed thru the VPN to be able to stream my Plex server to my Dad's in Del City, OK. He's 92 and been locked down in his assisted living facility for a month now and getting bored.
 

harshness

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May 5, 2007
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I'm hoping to have enough speed thru the VPN to be able to stream my Plex server to my Dad's in Del City, OK.
That depends mostly on what your upstream speed is rather than the overhead of VPN. Do you have a symmetric broadband connection (down and up speeds are the same)?

Further, if you dad is using Wi-fi, you may have an uphill battle sustaining the bandwidth on his end.
 
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osu1991

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Sep 4, 2004
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
I'm hoping to have enough speed thru the VPN to be able to stream my Plex server to my Dad's in Del City, OK. He's 92 and been locked down in his assisted living facility for a month now and getting bored.

A lot depends on your upload (which should be fine with your new fiber) and the client device doing the receiving (along with the download speed at the receiving location)

Make sure the client device (Roku, Apple TV, Fire Stick etc) supports the codecs of the files you want to stream.

I have a 10Mbps upload through Cox from my home and I stream compressed 1080p files (4-6GB in size) to my lake cabin in Wagoner without much trouble. I have 25Mbps cable service at the lake and use a 4K Fire Stick as the Plex client over WiFi. The 4K Fire sticks support most of the newest codecs, so my server rarely has to transcode anything. I just use an old desktop with a 3rd gen i5 with 8gbs ram as my Plex server. The video card in it supports hardware transcoding of x264 file types, so it doesn't stress the system too much if it needs to transcode those file types. I encode most of my files in x265 hevc now, but the fire stick supports that, so it just direct plays as long as my upload is sufficient to support the file size.

On the client device in Plex change the settings. Under video quality turn off adjust automatically and then change remote quality from the default of 4Mbps 720p up to something that matches the files you want to stream. I set mine to 8Mbps 1080p.
 

Larry1

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Aug 24, 2005
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Port Hope, ON Canada
I did this quite some time ago. I used two Linksys WRT54G routers (with dd-wrt installed) to bridge the networks together over the VPN to look like one network. At this time the video was only SD and not HD, but with the high internet speeds now, it should work with two newer, faster routers. I would suggest using the Asus routers that support the Merlin 3rd party firmware and have the VPN run in the routers. Since my VPN network was in bridged mode, I only had DHCP running on one router attached to the internet, and then the two routers handling the VPN.The other side of the VPN got its network address across the VPN to the router that accessed the internet (3 routers, one for internet access and 2 to bridge the networks together). Sorry, it was so long ago I can't remember all the details, hope I got the setup correct, but did follow the DD-WRT wiki for setting up a bridged network.
 

CharlieHorse

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 5, 2014
21
7
OU Country, OK
That depends mostly on what your upstream speed is rather than the overhead of VPN. Do you have a symmetric broadband connection (down and up speeds are the same)?

Further, if you dad is using Wi-fi, you may have an uphill battle sustaining the bandwidth on his end.
My connection is supposed to be 1 Gbps up/down no data cap for $85/mo. I was paying Windstream $140/mo for a dual DSL line G Bonded modem including land line that gave us only a max of 35 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps up, due to poor quality phone lines. NO Plex upload with that speed.

His wifi will stream 4K movies off my VUDU account, he has a Cox cable modem @15Mbps, my Plex movies are all 1080p so it should be OK. If no I'll buy him more speed. My ExpressVPN speeds are generally between 23 to 40 Mbps down and around 80 Mbps up so I should be good. Try'd Nord for a day, got a refund, they were slower and had a klunky interface.

Installed my CAT 7 cables last night, same 95 Mbps down 300 Mbps up.

Figured out the ethernet card in my new (last year) Dell Inspiron 3780 is only 10/100 ARGH!! So I ordered a USB 3.0 to ethernet adapter.

My Netgear R9000 router has Plex built in, with a WD Easystore 8 TB drive loaded with 6.5 TB of backup to my Synology 918+ with 4X8 TB drives. I run 2 8TB Easystore USB 3.0 backup drives, one on the router and the other on the 918+. Don't want to expose the 918+ outside the home network.

Should work ok, I just have to wait for the CV-19 lockdown to end at his facility so I can set it up at his end.

I'm still not sure about my fiber connection, but will wait till Thur. when the adapter arrives before I bug customer service. The installer knew even less about networking than I do. Scary, he's a former Dish Network installer, so a little bit out of his depth. Really nice kid though, he'll learn. I'd rather have nice and eager to please than "know it all A** H*le".
 
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harshness

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May 5, 2007
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Salem, OR
My Netgear R9000 router has Plex built in, with a WD Easystore 8 TB drive loaded with 6.5 TB of backup to my Synology 918+ with 4X8 TB drives.
You'll have to see if the R9000 is up to the transcoding task (even if it just has to transcode to 1080i). Just because you can download painstakingly pre-compressed 1080p at 5Mbps doesn't mean that you can do a real-time re-encode using router-grade hardware with that kind of efficiency. Internet forum traffic suggests that the R9000's transcoding horsepower is marginal as compared with a conventional computer (no wonder, absent a display card with dedicated decode hardware at least).

Not everything behaves according to the math. I have a 65 down Comcast service and right now, due to woefully overloaded DNS servers, it can't find the Dell home page. If I use a SharkVPN connection to Bend Oregon (their closest node), it loads right up. My raw throughput is obviously there but the DNS overhead in these stay-at-home times is just too great for Comcast's system to handle. I had to try twice to get the Comcast speed test to work and it eventually gave me a 89.1 down speed.

As for the network card, 10/100 is not defensible on Dell's part when the wireless side is rated at 150 or more but that's one of the surprises you get with a modest laptop. I'm sure they're going to hide behind the Wi-fi performance because it is "portable" after all.
 
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