Best network protocol for KODI to externally access a Synology NAS
#1
Hi good and clever people,

I have a Synology NAS (1816+ I believe it is called) with a lot of content from ripped DVDs. I use this NAS both for my HTPC at home, accessing it over my local network, and for accessing it remotely, from my cabin. I use WebDAV (HTTP) as the network protocol, as this is the only one I have been able to make work. However, this only work properly for TV Shows, not Movies, due to my long established file structure. The problem is explained in more detail here: 355094 (thread)

So I am thinking, I can either use a different network protocol, if I am able to make that work, and I don't run into the same issue, or I can try to find some advanced settings that will help me scrape/grab/organize my files correctly. I am looking into both option to see which would work and be the easiest/best.

So my question right here and now is this: Has anyone been able to successfully connect their Windows PC KODI installation with a Synology NAS with some other network protocol than WebDAV, and if so, could you tell me how?
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#2
If you do some searching on Synology you should be able to find alternative server methods, but these are considered OT on Kodi forum so can't go further than that.

scott s.
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#3
(2020-06-13, 18:25)scott967 Wrote: If you do some searching on Synology you should be able to find alternative server methods, but these are considered OT on Kodi forum so can't go further than that.

scott s.
.
Hi Scott, 

I have tried looking for this in many places, but have had no success, the only network protocol I have been able to make work, with a lot of trial and error, and help from my sons, was the WebDAV. Could you at least point me in the direction by saying with KODI network protocol you think could be useful to research further? The way I see it is that it is more of a KODI issue than a Synology/NAS issue anyway, so personally I don't think it is that OT? Grateful for any assistance :-) Have a great week-end!
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#4
Didn't we already have this discussion?

If WebDAV isn't working well for you, the other recommendation here would be to connect your cabin PC back to your Synology via a VPN and you can then use it as if it was connected directly onto your home network. The Synology can host an OpenVPN server (via VPN server package from the package centre), and you can grab an OpenVPN client from the internet.

Setting that up is outside what we support here (as it's all done entirely outside of Kodi), but it will do what you want as you can then use SMB or NFS like normal, as your cabin PC will effectively become part of the local network in the same way that your devices at home are.

Any other route will end up as either complicated, potentially very insecure or in the worst case both.
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#5
(2020-06-14, 10:15)DarrenHill Wrote: Didn't we already have this discussion?

If WebDAV isn't working well for you, the other recommendation here would be to connect your cabin PC back to your Synology via a VPN and you can then use it as if it was connected directly onto your home network. The Synology can host an OpenVPN server (via VPN server package from the package centre), and you can grab an OpenVPN client from the internet.

Setting that up is outside what we support here (as it's all done entirely outside of Kodi), but it will do what you want as you can then use SMB or NFS like normal, as your cabin PC will effectively become part of the local network in the same way that your devices at home are.

Any other route will end up as either complicated, potentially very insecure or in the worst case both.

Hi Darren,

yes we did have this conversation, but although the VPN solution you outlined sounds perfect I wasn't able to make it work, I am simply not at that level of technological sophistication. It seems I will need to install some additional software (I believe that is what you refer to as "an OpenVPN client". I tried googling OpenVPN but when trying to access the search results my browser told me the connection was insecure and refused to connect. But since WebDAV doesn't seem to work I might have to revisit, although I much would prefer a solution that wouldn't require any additional software other than what's on the Synology and built into KODI.
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#6
Windows OpenVPN client.

That's the client you'll need. When you set up the server on the Synology (I think I gave you some reference links for that before?) you can export a configuration file from it for the client. You just need to download the client and install it, then link that configuration file to it and it should allow you to connect the cabin PC into your home network remotely. Then all your normal connection methods (SMB, NFS etc) should work in exactly the same way as if you were at home.

This kind of VPN call back home is one of the legitimate uses for VPNs in relation to Kodi, but as noted before as it is outside of Kodi it's not something we really officially support in detail. But there are OpenVPN forums that can give you help if needed.
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#7
Thanks Darren, this looks great, the functionality you describe is exactly what I am looking for (and believe the NAS-seller said I would get, but now he tells me he doesn't know how it works). I will try to set it up and let you know how it is working!! :-)
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#8
(2020-06-16, 09:50)DarrenHill Wrote: Windows OpenVPN client.

That's the client you'll need. When you set up the server on the Synology (I think I gave you some reference links for that before?) you can export a configuration file from it for the client. You just need to download the client and install it, then link that configuration file to it and it should allow you to connect the cabin PC into your home network remotely. Then all your normal connection methods (SMB, NFS etc) should work in exactly the same way as if you were at home.

This kind of VPN call back home is one of the legitimate uses for VPNs in relation to Kodi, but as noted before as it is outside of Kodi it's not something we really officially support in detail. But there are OpenVPN forums that can give you help if needed.

Hi Darren, I think I may successfully have set up the VPN, but I cannot tell if this is the case. Apart from an icon on my desktop and notification tray, which I have clicked and apparently successfully logged in with, I see no differences on my PC, including when looking for the NAS under Network using Windows Explorer. I realise that VPN is not supported by the KODI forum, so this is just information for someone else trying to use KODI to access their own NAS in a legal way:
I don't find the NAS using the Windows Network (SMB) alternative under "Browse for new share". I also tried Add Network Location, but cannot see anything. I have looked at the VPN forum and understand very little of what is said there. I like watching movies, but I have no IT expertise. I am very grateful for your tips and patience, but as I feared this is just much too complex for me.
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#9
Be a bit careful of the network tab under Windows Explorer, as since MS turned off SMB1 and WINS it doesn't work reliably.

The better test is to try and access the dashboard of the NAS via a web browser and its internal IP address (same way you would do if you were at home). If that works then the VPN is working, if not then something isn't right. Or indeed access any dashboard web page for anything on your internal network, but the NAS is best as that's what you're trying to access within Kodi.

Similarly remember that you have to type IP addresses when you're setting up SMB sources in Kodi, you can't browse for them unless you have SMB1 enabled as only SMB1 has the browse capability (SMB2 and SMB3 do not).
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#10
Hi Darren thanks again! I am afraid I don't really know what SMB1 and WINS means. (I think MS means Microsoft?)

Typing in my NAS ip address times out. But I do have internet access, but I can't tell whether that is through the VPN or not? I did have internet access before launching the VPN too, and can't tell the difference...  So at this stage I do't know if the problem is inside KODI or VPN, but I suspect the latter, since I cannot see the NAS on my network in explorer?
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#11
If you can't access the NAS IP address then you're not on your local network, so the VPN isn't working. The internet access is just your normal access, not routed via anything.

There are sites on the internet which will tell you where you're connected from (https://whatismyipaddress.com/ for example), and that may help to tell you whether you're from your local network or via the VPN as the public IP address of the router should be different for your cabin router and your home one.
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#12
(2020-06-17, 13:08)DarrenHill Wrote: If you can't access the NAS IP address then you're not on your local network, so the VPN isn't working. The internet access is just your normal access, not routed via anything.

There are sites on the internet which will tell you where you're connected from (https://whatismyipaddress.com/ for example), and that may help to tell you whether you're from your local network or via the VPN as the public IP address of the router should be different for your cabin router and your home one.

OK, so that is interesting, I have the PC cabin at home now, but to simulate an external connection I have it connected to my cell phone acting as a mobile hot spot. So my home HTPC, the NAS and my router all show one and the same ip address, the cabin PC shows a different one. That should mean that the VPN on the cabin PC is working then?

In that case, the problem is with the NAS? Shouldn't it show up as a device on my network? Is that where I start, and only after that is solved do I try to connect KODI?
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#13
That doesn't sound right - the NAS and router should have different local IP addresses, presuming they're actually distinct devices (ie the NAS isn't a drive hooked up to your router).

We're getting a bit off-topic again here, but let's put some basics down as background.

Firstly your home network (local area network, or LAN). It should be created by your router, and have internal IP addresses in a format like 192.168.0.x , where x is somewhere between 1-255 and is individual for each device on the network. They are most commonly 192.168.x.y (or occasionally 10.x.y.z) in format where x, y and z are all 1-255 in range (at least for IPv4 networks, we'll ignore IPv6 ones for now). Those addresses are assigned by the domain name server (DNS) on your network, which is normally a part of your router functionality.

The router will also act as a gateway between your local network and the wider internet (WAN), and it will have a second IP address that is provided to it via your ISP (your service provider).

Similarly the network at your cabin will have an equivalent set-up, and our aim is to securely link a device on the cabin network back to the home network via the VPN.

What the VPN does is to sit as a device in your home network, and it will create its own small (virtual private) network to which your cabin PC connects through the internet by use of the client app. That should have a different IP address range, commonly 10.9.0.x or something like that) to the home network range. The VPN server acts in more or less the same way as the router does on your home network, but in this case it links devices on the VPN network into the home network. Basically the client installed on the cabin PC will use the cabin's internet connection to "dial out" to the VPN server across the internet, and use its pre-shared credentials and passwords etc to set up a secure tunnel between the cabin PC and the VPN server, thus joining the cabin PC onto your home network.

So if you are on the cabin PC without the VPN being active and you do the IP check linked above, it should show the public IP address of the router at the cabin (or whatever is providing your internet access - in your test before the cellphone providing the hotspot is doing that role). But when you enable the VPN and if everything sets up correctly then as you're effectively now part of the home network, that visible IP address should change to the public IP address of your home router. If you're not sure what that is, you can normally get it from the web dashboard of the home router, or else just access the site I linked above from another PC or device that's connected to the home network.

Be careful not to mix up the public IP addresses of the router with the local ones on your home network.

Hope that's a little clearer for you anyway...
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#14
(2020-06-17, 14:42)DarrenHill Wrote: That doesn't sound right - the NAS and router should have different local IP addresses, presuming they're actually distinct devices (ie the NAS isn't a drive hooked up to your router).

We're getting a bit off-topic again here, but let's put some basics down as background.

Firstly your home network (local area network, or LAN). It should be created by your router, and have internal IP addresses in a format like 192.168.0.x , where x is somewhere between 1-255 and is individual for each device on the network. They are most commonly 192.168.x.y (or occasionally 10.x.y.z) in format where x, y and z are all 1-255 in range (at least for IPv4 networks, we'll ignore IPv6 ones for now). Those addresses are assigned by the domain name server (DNS) on your network, which is normally a part of your router functionality.

The router will also act as a gateway between your local network and the wider internet (WAN), and it will have a second IP address that is provided to it via your ISP (your service provider).

Similarly the network at your cabin will have an equivalent set-up, and our aim is to securely link a device on the cabin network back to the home network via the VPN.

What the VPN does is to sit as a device in your home network, and it will create its own small (virtual private) network to which your cabin PC connects through the internet by use of the client app. That should have a different IP address range, commonly 10.9.0.x or something like that) to the home network range. The VPN server acts in more or less the same way as the router does on your home network, but in this case it links devices on the VPN network into the home network. Basically the client installed on the cabin PC will use the cabin's internet connection to "dial out" to the VPN server across the internet, and use its pre-shared credentials and passwords etc to set up a secure tunnel between the cabin PC and the VPN server, thus joining the cabin PC onto your home network.

So if you are on the cabin PC without the VPN being active and you do the IP check linked above, it should show the public IP address of the router at the cabin (or whatever is providing your internet access - in your test before the cellphone providing the hotspot is doing that role). But when you enable the VPN and if everything sets up correctly then as you're effectively now part of the home network, that visible IP address should change to the public IP address of your home router. If you're not sure what that is, you can normally get it from the web dashboard of the home router, or else just access the site I linked above from another PC or device that's connected to the home network.

Be careful not to mix up the public IP addresses of the router with the local ones on your home network.

Hope that's a little clearer for you anyway...

Thanks so much for this Karellen, might just be what I need to ask more intelligent question, I will read and reread carefully, then come back hopefully with better questions!
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#15
(2020-06-17, 15:49)cgroth Wrote:
(2020-06-17, 14:42)DarrenHill Wrote: That doesn't sound right - the NAS and router should have different local IP addresses, presuming they're actually distinct devices (ie the NAS isn't a drive hooked up to your router).

We're getting a bit off-topic again here, but let's put some basics down as background.

Firstly your home network (local area network, or LAN). It should be created by your router, and have internal IP addresses in a format like 192.168.0.x , where x is somewhere between 1-255 and is individual for each device on the network. They are most commonly 192.168.x.y (or occasionally 10.x.y.z) in format where x, y and z are all 1-255 in range (at least for IPv4 networks, we'll ignore IPv6 ones for now). Those addresses are assigned by the domain name server (DNS) on your network, which is normally a part of your router functionality.

The router will also act as a gateway between your local network and the wider internet (WAN), and it will have a second IP address that is provided to it via your ISP (your service provider).

Similarly the network at your cabin will have an equivalent set-up, and

*********


our aim is to securely link a device on the cabin network back to the home network via the VPN.

What the VPN does is to sit as a device in your home network, and it will create its own small (virtual private) network to which your cabin PC connects through the internet by use of the client app. That should have a different IP address range, commonly 10.9.0.x or something like that) to the home network range. The VPN server acts in more or less the same way as the router does on your home network, but in this case it links devices on the VPN network into the home network. Basically the client installed on the cabin PC will use the cabin's internet connection to "dial out" to the VPN server across the internet, and use its pre-shared credentials and passwords etc to set up a secure tunnel between the cabin PC and the VPN server, thus joining the cabin PC onto your home network.

So if you are on the cabin PC without the VPN being active and you do the IP check linked above, it should show the public IP address of the router at the cabin (or whatever is providing your internet access - in your test before the cellphone providing the hotspot is doing that role). But when you enable the VPN and if everything sets up correctly then as you're effectively now part of the home network, that visible IP address should change to the public IP address of your home router. If you're not sure what that is, you can normally get it from the web dashboard of the home router, or else just access the site I linked above from another PC or device that's connected to the home network.

Be careful not to mix up the public IP addresses of the router with the local ones on your home network.

Hope that's a little clearer for you anyway...

Hi,

The part above the three *** is understood and seems to be correctly set up here.

So to test if I understand correctly:

1) When my Cabin PC is connected to my home network over wifi the WhatsMyIp should show the ip of my router (as will all other devices on my home network, internally they will have different ip addresses shown on the router's map, all starting with 192.168 as you say)
2. When I switch the Cabin PC to an external network, in this case the one provided by my phone, the WhatsmyIP should be a different address from whatr it was before (and all other devices on the home network)
3. If I leave my Cabin PC on the external network, still provided by my phone, the  the WhatsmyIP should revert to what is it was before on the home network  (and as all other devices on the home network)?

If so, this works for 1, where the IPv4 address is the same (no IPv6 address). For 2 the IPv4 address is different, and there is an IPv6 address as well.

For 3 the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are the same as for 2. 

So I guess that means something is wrong in this section of your explanation:

"that should have a different IP address range, commonly 10.9.0.x or something like that) to the home network range. The VPN server acts in more or less the same way as the router does on your home network, but in this case it links devices on the VPN network into the home network. Basically the client installed on the cabin PC will use the cabin's internet connection to "dial out" to the VPN server across the internet, and use its pre-shared credentials and passwords etc to set up a secure tunnel between the cabin PC and the VPN server, thus joining the cabin PC onto your home network."
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