Excessive data usage

We use tailscale for our iot network. For ethernet stations it is not a problem, but tailscale is using way to much traffic on mobile usage (3G, 4G).

This was confirmed by the tailscale support team.

I would say, you cant use it under this conditions - this is for us a really bad thing and we have to find an alternative to tailscale.

Yes, we are aware of this; it’s an area that we’re working on, and each release has gotten a bit better.

If it’s feasible, try to stop the Tailscale while not using it and start it when needed.

This will be much better in 1.4.0. See 1.3.293 is released (a 1.4.0 pre-release)

Just out of curiosity, what type of info is recorded at your side in the logs?

It’s mostly about NAT traversal connectivity and firewall decisions. Not the contents of data packets, for instance.

You can see it yourself on your local machine via journalctl, Console.app, or C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Local\Tailscale\Logs, depending on OS.

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I’ll have a look, thanks :grin:.

@sevenymedia, do you happen to also use ZeroTier? We recently discovered an issue where ZeroTier and Tailscale didn’t work at the same time and cause ZeroTier to flood traffic non-stop over Tailscale.

In any case, we think we’ve mitigated that, and we’ve also made Tailscale idle much more nicely with 1.4.0 which was just released. Try it out and let us know?

  • Brad

I don’t use ZeroTier.

I just installed 1.4.0 on my nuc. I still have cellular usage disabled on my phone, how do I know if it’s safe to turn it on again without flying through my plan?

Do you use any other VPN or networking software on that NUC?

I guess I’d recommend turning it back on but keeping an eye on it.

Do you use any other VPN or networking software on that NUC?

No, it’s a pretty clean Ubuntu 20.04 installation, only ‘custom’ thing is CSF as firewall instead of the default.

I guess I’d recommend turning it back on but keeping an eye on it.

Alright, I’ll give it a try

@sevenymedia, I’m now running tailscaled on an LTE modem (with $10/GB data) so I’m now keeping a close eye on this.

Based on my limited data so far running it idle for 2 hours, it looks like it’s on track to use 8.2 MB/day down up, and 6 MB/day up.

But… that’s without a number of the new Tailscale 1.4 protocol optimizations activated server side. It’ll be dropping a fair bit I think. I’ll post new numbers next week when those start to be enabled. (You won’t need to restart your client…)

We rolled out the optimizations for a few test networks today. An idle machine on my home network on an LTE modem is now averaging 0.09 kBps, or 7.59 MiB/day, or ~231 MiB/month. So on my $10/GB Google Fi data SIM, that’s about $2.25/month.

And upload is about half that. So maybe $3/month, depending on how ISPs charge.

There’s more we’ll be doing, though. (In addition to my personal LTE bill, we also pay for the server’s bandwidth, so it’s in our best interest to keep reducing it)

We’ll be enabling this server-side optimization (for 1.4+ clients) sometime today or this week.

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Actually, for the past two hours it’s only been 0.08 kBps, so a bit better than the numbers I’d posted above.

Hey,

I have been watching this thread as I am having the same issue.

I am using iOS and then connecting to an Ubuntu 20.4 host which routes a couple of internal subnets essentially.

I had issues at the end of last year where I used 10GB in one day, the only thing that I have connect at the other end is Home Assistant with literally a single toggle option so I doubt that is using much data at all.

I saw this thread, updated all my devices and tried again. On the 1st of Feb I chewed through 8GB of data, and my phone got really hot. I just checked and at the time of the issue I was using iOS version 1.2.8 (which was the latest at the time).

I rebooted my device, turned Tailscale off and haven’t had any further issues. It definitely feels like Tailscale is the issue here, I have very similar usage habits with TailScale turned off and don’t have data issues. It also seems random, like the second time I had the issue, it had been around a month without it using much data at all.

If you think that there has been fixes after the 1st of Feb (NZT) I can give it another go, but my issue is that it runs through so much data in a short space of time it hard to catch and should a few hours go by I can lose GB’s worth of mobile data.

Happy to work with anyone at Tailscale to investigate if they want to touch base with me. I really like the product so I am keen to try and assist in resolving the problem.

Are you using any other VPN/networking/routing software? Tailscale 1.4.x works around a problem with ZeroTier and Tailscale running at the same time that generated a crazy amount of useless traffic.

No other VPN or routing software on the iOS device or the Ubuntu host either.

iOS mobile data is showing usage of 1.2GB in the past 10 hours, in the past this hasn’t lined up with my actual usage though so I am not 100% sure its accurate (for some reason). The past 10 hours I have hardly been out of wifi reception

What are your Tailscale IPs?

Debugging from the Ubuntu side would be easier. Do you see the same amount of traffic there?

We can also debug together if you book some time: Calendly - Brad Fitzpatrick

100.121.111.76
100.109.26.52 (iOS)

You’ve raised a decent point I did not think about it like that, I will throw some logging on it and the firewall at my end and see if I can work anything out.

If I get stuck I can reach out regarding debug time, but I really appreciate the offer.

I just experienced the same issue with high data usage on my iPhone yesterday. Blew through 6 Gb of data in a day. Strange thing is: I was playing golf and I did not use my iPhone that day. Noticed at one point battery was at 1% checked battery usage and Tailscale was on top with like 85%. Strange.

I am using Tailscale version 1.4.5

Checked other VPN software. I had 1.1.1.1 VPN installed but not active. Just deleted it. And there are also two WireGuard VPN configs. WireGuard not active.

No Zerotier on iPhone. Perhaps it is installed on my rPi in my home network. I will check this. I have been playing around with Zerotier in the past in my network.

Update: checked rPi in network. No Zerotier installed.

Update 2: I had service discovery enabled (also yesterday). But, I disables it this morning figuring that maybe had something to do with all this data usage. Although I have zero evidence.

As a note I did not have service discovery enabled when I experienced the issue