What is the bandwidth situation for free users? In my case, it’s just me, although if I have to hire someone to help me, I might have 1-2 part time helpers and the main reason for Tailscale is being able to start or stop (in case of problems) 3D prints or similar projects or to show a customer an ongoing project. In those situations, I’m working with webcams that are not high quality images.
However, there are times I want to listen to my old time radio shows. Many of those are hard to get in high quality audio files and some music systems won’t upload them because of the low quality. I have a lot of these files on a media server on my LAN and would like to be able to listen to them in other places. Also, sometimes I am staying somewhere overnight and want to be able to watch a movie that’s on my media server. (I like non-US and independent films, so these are often not on streaming.) I have tested to see if I can watch video over a Tailscale connection and it frequently froze during playback. (This is not HD video - DVD quality at best in terms of size and bandwidth.)
As a free user, trying not to be a hog, is audio streaming an issue in terms of bandwidth? And what about video? I couldn’t find any info on bandwidth or data caps but, beyond set limits, as a free user, I don’t want to be that guy who just wants or tries to get everything for free.
So what can I expect and what kind of use is okay and when does it get to the point where I’m being a hog or where things won’t work so well?
The tailscale VPN connections aren’t streamed through any tailscale servers, so you’re not using any bandwidth but your own internet connection’s bandwidth.
And in regards to DERP servers they haven’t mentioned any bandwidth limitations.
The only limitations so far are for the traffic over funnel, but they haven’t mentioned any numbers: Tailscale Funnel · Tailscale
Without even checking, I can tell you that lately I’ve been getting slow upload speeds, which may be part of the issue. Streaming HD is no problem. (We have a projection TV - it’d be easy to tell if it wasn’t HD on that, the screen is so big.) I did some upgrading and rearranging my computers and that led to the need to make new online backups. That’s over 1TB (maybe even 2 or more TB) of data. It started out fast, then slowed up, so I suspect with the long term upload going on, we got our upload speed throttled back.
(Kind of the reverse of my previous ISP, a cellular broadband system. When I watched the Tour de France, which is 4-5 hours a day for 3 weeks, our normal speed dropped in the 3rd week of the race and stayed slow for another 2 weeks. Our current ISP is Starlink.)
That is not accurate in all cases. If a connection requires use of a DERP server, then traffic does, in fact, run through one or more of Tailscale’s servers:
Tailscale runs DERP relay servers distributed around the world to link your Tailscale nodes peer-to-peer as a side channel during NAT traversal, and as a fallback in case NAT traversal fails and a direct connection cannot be established.
Because Tailscale private keys never leave the node where they were generated, there is never a way for a DERP server to decrypt your traffic. A DERP server just blindly forwards already-encrypted traffic from one node to another.