Tivo mini over VPN


Supporting Founder
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Sep 8, 2003
Tampa/Eastern Ct
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.

Junior Member
December 2016
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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.