ARC and Tailscale: Connect to RoonServer Without Port Forwarding

ARC and Tailscale: Connect to RoonServer Without Port Forwarding

ARC requires a connection back to your RoonServer in order to function and the vast majority of ARC users can satisfy this requirement through a straightforward network port forwarding setup. Unfortunately, port forwarding is not an option for some users, especially those with highly restrictive internet service providers or wireless carriers. While some blocked connections can be resolved through extensive tinkering or costly upgrades to ISP services there are still many Roon users who were effectively locked out of ARC.

We are pleased to announce that after diligent testing by Roon staff and the assistance of several Roon community volunteers, we have found a solution that is both free and easy to install which can immediately resolve many of these issues—Tailscale.

What is Tailscale?

Tailscale is a VPN service that makes the devices and applications you own accessible anywhere in the world, securely and effortlessly. Tailscale uses a technology called WireGuard to create private, encrypted subnetworks over the internet. This allows devices in separate locations with completely separate internet connections to reach one another as if they were on the same WiFi network. 

How does Tailscale Work?

Tailscale creates a secure tunnel between your devices without requiring manual port forwarding. This is particularly useful in environments with restricted network configurations, such as CG NAT, ever-changing IP addresses, and multiple layers of network routing (Double NAT).

What about Security?

Tailscale creates a secure tunnel based on WireGuard, an open-source VPN that is known for its elegant simplicity, strong encryption, and robust security. The connection through Tailscale does not expose your network to additional risks; instead, it actually fortifies the privacy and integrity of your data.

If you’d like to read more about what Tailscale is or how it works, please refer to their documentation:

Conditions Overcome by Tailscale:

  • CG-NAT issues due to ISP implementation
    This is a common practice with some major providers such as Vodafone Germany and Orange Group. Tailscale bypasses CG-NAT entirely.

  • Double-NAT scenarios
    If you have multiple active routers between your RoonServer and the internet, you have a complex network configuration that would require manual intervention. Tailscale can solve this problem without any intervention needed.

  • University/Corporate Networks (University WiFi, Government WiFi)
    Many university and corporate networks prohibit RoonServer from using the port forwarding required for ARC. Tailscale doesn’t require port forwarding and presents a workaround for these cases. 

  • Restrictive WiFi and Cellular Networks
    Public networks such as hotels, airports, cafes, or universities. In most cases, Tailscale will bypass downstream filtering that prevents ARC from properly connecting on heavily-managed public WiFi networks. 

Getting Started with Tailscale
Setting up Tailscale is straightforward. We will provide detailed guides and support to ensure you can seamlessly integrate Tailscale with your Roon ARC experience.

Tailscale Setup Guides

You will need to install Tailscale on both your RoonServer machine and your phone. Please see the appropriate guide for your Roon setup. 

RoonServer Operating System
Tailscale Download Link
Linux (most distributions)
RoonOS* (Nucleus, Nucleus+, Nucleus One, Nucleus Titan, ROCK)

*RoonOS users: Since Tailscale can’t be installed on a RoonOS machine (any Nucleus, ROCK), you will instead need to install it on a separate computer on your local network and configure it as a Tailscale subnet router. We’ve provided step-by-step instructions in the RoonOS guide above. 

For further instructions and support, please visit our community site or contact our support team. We are committed to enhancing your listening experience, no matter where you are!

Warm regards,
The Roon Team

    • Related Articles

    • ARC Port Forwarding

      Overview Roon ARC is designed to connect to your Roon Server from outside your home. This allows you to access your server on the go so you can play your files and streaming content, in addition to updating your library, playlists, favorites, and ...
    • ARC FAQ

      Overview What is ARC? Roon ARC allows you to take your Roon experience on the go. ARC lets you browse your library, play local and streaming content, download local media to your phone, and update your collection by adding albums, building playlists, ...
    • Tailscale Setup Instructions: Linux RoonServer

      This document outlines how to install Tailscale on a Linux-based Roon Server machine and configure it for accessing ARC on a phone outside the home network. STEP ONE Install Tailscale on Linux If you’re new to Tailscale, you’ll first need to create a ...
    • Tailscale Setup Instructions: Windows RoonServer

      This document outlines how to install Tailscale on a Windows-based Roon Server machine and configure it for accessing ARC on a phone outside the home network. STEP ONE Install Tailscale on Windows If you’re new to Tailscale, you’ll first need to ...
    • Tailscale Setup Instructions: RoonOS RoonServer

      Est Time: 30-60 minutes, depending on network experience In a standard Tailscale ARC setup, you’d install Tailscale directly on your RoonServer machine and on your phone. However, RoonOS machines like Nucleus and ROCK can’t support third-party ...
    Visit the Roon Community!
    Need help? Thousands of Roon subscribers and audio enthusiasts are chatting over on our community site right now, join them! You don't even need a Roon subscription to sign up.