Your Pi, From Anywhere

The Raspberry Pi finds a use in a huge variety of applications, and in almost any location you could imagine. Sadly those who use those machines might not be in the same place as the machines themselves, and thus there’s the question of providing a remote connection between the two. This may not be a huge challenge to those skilled with Linux and firewalls, but to many Pi users it’s a closed book. So the Pi folks have come up with a painless way to connect to your Pi wherever it is, and it’s called Raspberry Pi Connect.

To use the service all you need is a Pi running the latest 64-bit version of Raspberry Pi OS, so sadly that excludes base model Zeros and older models. Sign in to the Raspberry Pi Connect server, follow the instructions, and you’re on your way. Under the hood it’s the well-known VNC protocol at work, with the connection setup being managed via WebRTC. The Pi servers are intended to act simply as connection facilitators for peer-to-peer traffic, though they are capable of handling through traffic themselves. It’s a beta service with a single server in the UK at the time of writing, though we’d expect both the number of servers and the offering to evolve over time.

We think this is a useful addition to the Pi offering, and we expect to see it used in all manner of inventive ways. Meanwhile it’s a while since we had a look at connecting to a headless Pi, but much of the information is still relevant.

20 thoughts on “Your Pi, From Anywhere

  1. I’m sure some will love the simplicity of this, but if someone told me they implemented it I’d walk them through setting up a VPN (wireguard is my choice, but thats just me), and forwarding a port on their router, just seems like a better security posture and VPN / port forwarding is good knowledge to have. You can host a wireguard server on a pi without breaking a sweat. DDNS is offered for free if you don’t own a domain, and is even easier to configure.

    FWIW I have pfSense running in a dedicated box as my network appliance and it has a DDNS client to update my domain registrar’s DNS records, and several wireguard servers running (creating tunnels into different subnets with their own firewall rules / access – no need for the wife’s phone to be able to open SSH connections to my hypervisors for example). Definitely more work than I’d suggest for someone who wants to just access their pi remotely, but all the pieces to build the same access are available on a pi. Probably runs on a pi zero too.

    1. This will not work for users who never touched a text file or shell. Raspberry Pi Connect will:
      ROA on user product <= scale-up userbase <= reduce the skill barrier <= one-click web solutions

      Android already ditched the idea of a *file* away from the user workflow, and that worked well for them:

      I use WireGuard though. No single-click to run, sure, but much simpler to troubleshoot and robust IMHO. :)

    1. I have to jump in and second this. Zerotier is completely transformational. Put a lightweight client on any device (including some routers) pair them with one of your networks and you have a self healing private network between those devices. You can ssh or VNC to your heart’s content. Each device has its own IP in your private virtual LAN.
      You can even use one device as a gateway to the rest of a physical LAN with routing, and treat the devices on that LAN as if you were local.
      Truly game changing.

  2. this is ridiculous. it’s got nothing to do with pi, but then they not only specialized it to pi they also depend on the 64-bit kernel, which is new to pi. and then on top of that, to upgrade to 64-bit, i have to break everything i carefully hacked to work around THE COMPLETE LACK OF OPEN SOURCE on pi. what a crap ecosystem. working around a firewall shouldn’t have anything to do with pi, and certainly shouldn’t have anything to do with upgrading closed source drivers that have a totally new API from one version to the next.

    tomorrow i will unveil my groundbreaking project: Hello World!\n but with the unprecedented feature: i’ll make it dependent on a specific subversion of pi garbage os.

    1. Why should they not make it only work on a Pi? They are hosting it so they can make the rules. Why should they allow anyone to use it for any system?

      Making it only 64 bit is a little strange though, I wonder what their explanation is for that.

      You do realise not everything has to be made for you? If you don’t want to use this then that is your choice, no one is forcing you to. However for people who are just starting out or don’t want to deal with setting something similar up themselves then this could be a good solution. Just accept that this isn’t for you and move on.

  3. I am sure this will be useful to someone out there and will probably have a use case. Since my automation home ‘network’ is internal and never leaves the area (no internet access by design), I’ll don’t have or see a use for it (at this time).

  4. The RPi-5 8GB is still hit-and-miss available here in the USA, and it costs a whopping EIGHTY BUCKS; and that’s before you get in to buying all the extra bits and pieces needed to make a working machine. It’s sad to see how far Raspberry-Pi has fallen. They have a case of the Forever COVID-19.

    1. Actually AdaFruit and the PiShop have the RPI 5s in stock consistently now. Not hit or miss for the past few months. I think we are past the ‘scarce’ availability… I now have 5 RPI-5s (2 8s, and 3 4s). YMMV or course :) .

    2. And yes add $12 for 5V-5A and another $5 for heatsink/fan, so up to 80 + 12 + 5 = $97 not counting shipping. A long way from $25-$35 (plus a power supply as well BTW). Times change as well as performance. Still buy Picos, Zeros, and RPI-4s though if that is all you need.

    1. Ouch. Not very security conscious out there if this is true! Change the password people. At least with latest Bookworm PI OS, your ‘forced’ to create a username password — hopefully not pi, raspberry…. :rolleyes: .

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