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Luke

They offer a relay feature that routes data through their servers when a direct connection can't be reached.

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cayars

Yes, it's a tunnel/relay connection but is highly limited.  If you have a Plex Pass the tunnel is 2 mb and if not a Plex pass user it's 1 mb.

 

Now imagine running your server through a tunnel of 1 or 2 mb with a couple of people streaming.  Your server will spend CPU/GPU resources transcoding to make the video small enough to fit that pipe.  It's difficult to watch action movies over 2mb as there just isn't enough bandwidth to carry the action on a big screen.

 

It's a "neat" feature and would be actually useful if it were 5 or 10 mb but at those limited bitrates it's not that great of quality on any decent size monitor/tv.

 

The reason it works is that the Plex server which is inside your LAN opens a port to the cloud servers Plex runs.  Since it's opened from the inside to out the connection is opened just as if your were using an xbox with live and connecting to Live servers.  Plex client software never connects to the local Plex server but ALWAYS connects first to the cloud server and decides if it can connect direct or if it needs to use a tunnel.  When Plex has outages even local LAN connections don't work (far too often).

 

Emby takes a completely different programming approach (in general) which is both good and bad.  It's good from the standpoint that clients connect DIRECT to your server.  So if in the house they connect direct.  If it's remote it connects direct with no cloud computer in the mix.  Emby does support "Emby Connect" which can help you find any server associated with your Emby Connect account but doesn't use a tunnel.  So with Emby you could loose your internet connection for a week (ie tornado, hurricane, earthquake, drunk driver taking out a pole) but could still always connect to your own local server.  With Plex you'd be screwed.

 

With Plex, you can just about always connect externally without any setup work as they use a tunnel (if needed) and cloud servers to direct actions but this means even local connections require external verification or things won't work even in the house.  Also if a tunnel is needed the quality is degraded (1 or 2 mb) and will make your server transcode to fit that small pipe.  Not to mention that Plex is moving in a different direction than allowing YOUR users to connect to YOUR server and are throwing in services they can monitize.

 

Emby on the other hand does not use cloud servers, doesn't high jack your users or connections with ads and doesn't own your clients/users like Plex does and doesn't support a half ass tunnel connection. It instead leaves the external connection completely up to you the admin which is again good or bad depending on perspective.  It's more work to setup and get working but you can have your own domain or DDNS domain to give users a domain to connect to not unlike netflix.com or prime.com  (ie. Bobs.tv, Carlo.tv).  Anyone who knows/understand networking and can control their setup and will highly favor Emby over Plex every time as they are in complete control of user accounts, connections without any 3rd party in the middle (always a security or network outages issue), firewalls, CDNs, mirrors or proxies.

 

The "con" of Emby Server is that it doesn't do these "nice" things for you behind the scenes and requires you to know/understand the networking and setup.  However, with an External VPN service that can be as low as $1.00 or so per month you can have a 50-500mb connection you can use to tunnel your own server.  So with Emby and bit more work, you can still set it up to serve external clients BUT you can stream full blue-ray files without having to transcode them to fit a tiny pipe of 1 or 2 mb.

 

To be honest, Plex is best at this for those who know nothing about network and just need things to work and have big CPU or GPUs to handle transcoding, but Emby is much better if you don't mind putting a bit of time into the setup (and/or getting help) and getting it setup like a "commercial" entity on the web.  Once you do get Emby Server setup this way, you would never want to go back.

 

Probably 90%+ of users have no issues setting this up because their ISP doesn't "get in the way".  The remaining 10% might be better off with Plex for an easy setup or if they are willing to put a bit of time and learning into their setup will benefit from Emby's approach of putting YOU in control.

 

The above dialog is the WORST of the WORST of what ISP can/will do to you and leave you no choice but to create your own tunnel.  The question is do you want an automated approach with a limit of 1 or 2mb or do you want to control this and have a tunnel larger than your upload bandwidth and not cause your CPU/GPU to work overtime?

 

We (Emby)/I am always willing to help those who need help to get this type of thing setup using an external VPN solution if actually needed.  Just PM me for private help and I can remote into your system while your are there and work the solution with you to get remote setup that rocks and is fast!

 

Carlo

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grimleaper1709

Hi Carlo,

    great write up on the Plex/Emby issue. Couldn't agree more. Have to say I fall in the class of willing and wanting to do the work to get Emby working remotely but I am nearing the end of my patience or maybe I am just stupid.

 

I have over the last three days tried connecting through ZeroTier with the Emby app (EmbyCon and webapp) no luck but Plex works through the tunnel

Tried through WireGuard tunnel, no luck

Through a VPN (Mullvad, tunnel is there and connects but no Emby)

Through No-ip (ddns.net updates the ip and tracert resolves it correctly,but it is not reachable over 30 hops)

I have even resorted to installing Ubuntu 20.04 because it has wireguard natively (still working on this as I have no Linux skills)

 

Could it be that because I have mobile carriers on both ends (5G ISP and 4G carrier for Mobile) ie. double CGNAT that I somehow have to bridge this.

Why does plex work through the ZT tunnel but not Emby?

 

Using Wireguard what would my endpoint be if my WAN ip is three different things. ( Router= 192.168.8.x ; whatis my Ip 197.185.x.x ; ddns.net says 197.185.x.x but is unreachable)

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cayars

You have a quite unusual type of situation.  Since you seem quite advanced and willing to try different things what I'd suggest is getting  public VPN that you can get  static IP/port on.  Once you run the VPN client on your Emby Server that IP & port would be available to Emby Server to use.

 

This essentially creates a high speed tunnel from a public IP to your server being carrier grade NAT. :)

 

Doing it this way requires ZERO installations on client computers as they will use a real IP address and it won't matter if they are behind any type of NAT.

 

Carlo

 

PS if you need one on one help with this PM for assistance.

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grimleaper1709

Actually as a sanity check I have done the following

 

installed ZeroTier on a windows machine (laptop),an iPhone and an Android phone and connected them al through WiFi to a router sitting on Fibre PPoE

I installed Emby Theatre for win, and Emby app and EmbyCon for Android and iOS.

Started ZT on all devices.

Emby works no problem on Windows, both through web app and EmbyCon

Does not work at all on the mobile devices. Just keep on asking to add server, use EmbyCon or download.

(NOTE: this cannot be double CGNat as the mobiles are not using mobile data but WiFi through fibre

All devices was connecting through the same router to the same ISP.)

 

What gives ???

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cayars

OK so what new network does ZeroTier setup?

What is the ZeroTier IP for the Emby Server?

What IP does the Emby Server show?

 

Remember if you are "stacking" a network overtop your real network you need to setup ALL devices to use the "stacked" network IPs and not the real one.

So make sure Emby Server is using the ZeroTier IP and not your real IP.

 

Then make sure you use the ZeroTier IP when trying to connect from clients.

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Octavo
Posted (edited)

@@cayars

 

Okay, that explains a lot. And I like the features in Emby a lot. I am not an expert in these things so get frustrated easily.

 

Now what I would like to know is if I can run Emby server from a virtual machine like Azure VMs. I have setup my Emby server in one, but facing the same problem of getting connected remotely. Can you throw some light on how to run the server from a VM?

 

And if I set up a dedicated IP through a vpn service. How will I be able to setup Emby server for remote connection?

Edited by Octavo

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cayars

If your running through a VM you have to setup the VM and firewall to allow port forwarding to needed ports.  By default most ports are blocked for your safety.

 

Using a VPN server that will give you a IP and port to use you setup Emby to use that port for remote access, then set the domain to the IP address.

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