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Networking

Networking

Networking

Coder's network topology has three types of nodes: workspaces, coder servers, and users.

The coder server must have an inbound address reachable by users and workspaces, but otherwise, all topologies just work with Coder.

When possible, we establish direct connections between users and workspaces. Direct connections are as fast as connecting to the workspace outside of Coder. When NAT traversal fails, connections are relayed through the coder server. All user <-> workspace connections are end-to-end encrypted.

Tailscale's open source backs our networking logic.

Requirements

In order for clients and workspaces to be able to connect:

  • All clients and agents must be able to establish a connection to the Coder server (CODER_ACCESS_URL) over HTTP/HTTPS.
  • Any reverse proxy or ingress between the Coder control plane and clients/agents must support WebSockets.

In order for clients to be able to establish direct connections:

Note: Direct connections via the web browser are not supported. To improve latency for browser-based applications running inside Coder workspaces in regions far from the Coder control plane, consider deploying one or more workspace proxies.

  • The client is connecting using the CLI (e.g. coder ssh or coder port-forward). Note that the VSCode extension and JetBrains Plugin, and ssh coder.<workspace> all utilize the CLI to establish a workspace connection.
  • Either the client or workspace agent are able to discover a reachable ip:port of their counterpart. If the agent and client are able to communicate with each other using their locally assigned IP addresses, then a direct connection can be established immediately. Otherwise, the client and agent will contact the configured STUN servers to try and determine which ip:port can be used to communicate with their counterpart. See STUN and NAT for more details on how this process works.
  • All outbound UDP traffic must be allowed for both the client and the agent on all ports to each others' respective networks.
    • To establish a direct connection, both agent and client use STUN. This involves sending UDP packets outbound on udp/3478 to the configured STUN server. If either the agent or the client are unable to send and receive UDP packets to a STUN server, then direct connections will not be possible.
    • Both agents and clients will then establish a WireGuard️ tunnel and send UDP traffic on ephemeral (high) ports. If a firewall between the client and the agent blocks this UDP traffic, direct connections will not be possible.

coder server

Workspaces connect to the coder server via the server's external address, set via ACCESS_URL. There must not be a NAT between workspaces and coder server.

Users connect to the coder server's dashboard and API through its ACCESS_URL as well. There must not be a NAT between users and the coder server.

Template admins can overwrite the site-wide access URL at the template level by leveraging the url argument when defining the Coder provider:

provider "coder" {
  url = "https://coder.namespace.svc.cluster.local"
}

This is useful when debugging connectivity issues between the workspace agent and the Coder server.

Web Apps

The coder servers relays dashboard-initiated connections between the user and the workspace. Web terminal <-> workspace connections are an exception and may be direct.

In general, port forwarded web apps are faster than dashboard-accessed web apps.

ğŸŒŽ Geo-distribution

Direct connections

Direct connections are a straight line between the user and workspace, so there is no special geo-distribution configuration. To speed up direct connections, move the user and workspace closer together.

Establishing a direct connection can be an involved process because both the client and workspace agent will likely be behind at least one level of NAT, meaning that we need to use STUN to learn the IP address and port under which the client and agent can both contact each other. See STUN and NAT for more information on how this process works.

If a direct connection is not available (e.g. client or server is behind NAT), Coder will use a relayed connection. By default, Coder uses Google's public STUN server, but this can be disabled or changed for offline deployments.

Relayed connections

By default, your Coder server also runs a built-in DERP relay which can be used for both public and offline deployments.

However, Tailscale has graciously allowed us to use their global DERP relays. You can launch coder server with Tailscale's DERPs like so:

$ coder server --derp-config-url https://controlplane.tailscale.com/derpmap/default

Custom Relays

If you want lower latency than what Tailscale offers or want additional DERP relays for offline deployments, you may run custom DERP servers. Refer to Tailscale's documentation to learn how to set them up.

After you have custom DERP servers, you can launch Coder with them like so:

# derpmap.json
{
  "Regions": {
    "1": {
      "RegionID": 1,
      "RegionCode": "myderp",
      "RegionName": "My DERP",
      "Nodes": [
        {
          "Name": "1",
          "RegionID": 1,
          "HostName": "your-hostname.com"
        }
      ]
    }
  }
}
$ coder server --derp-config-path derpmap.json

Dashboard connections

The dashboard (and web apps opened through the dashboard) are served from the coder server, so they can only be geo-distributed with High Availability mode in our Enterprise Edition. Reach out to Sales to learn more.

Browser-only connections

Some Coder deployments require that all access is through the browser to comply with security policies. In these cases, pass the --browser-only flag to coder server or set CODER_BROWSER_ONLY=true.

With browser-only connections, developers can only connect to their workspaces via the web terminal and web IDEs.

Troubleshooting

The coder ping -v <workspace> will ping a workspace and return debug logs for the connection. We recommend running this command and inspecting the output when debugging SSH connections to a workspace. For example:

$ coder ping -v my-workspace

2023-06-21 17:50:22.412 [debu] wgengine: ping(fd7a:115c:a1e0:49d6:b259:b7ac:b1b2:48f4): sending disco ping to [cFYPo] ...
pong from my-workspace proxied via DERP(Denver) in 90ms
2023-06-21 17:50:22.503 [debu] wgengine: magicsock: closing connection to derp-13 (conn-close), age 5s
2023-06-21 17:50:22.503 [debu] wgengine: magicsock: 0 active derp conns
2023-06-21 17:50:22.504 [debu] wgengine: wg: [v2] Routine: receive incoming v6 - stopped
2023-06-21 17:50:22.504 [debu] wgengine: wg: [v2] Device closed

The coder speedtest <workspace> command measures user <-> workspace throughput. E.g.:

$ coder speedtest dev
29ms via coder
Starting a 5s download test...
INTERVAL       TRANSFER         BANDWIDTH
0.00-1.00 sec  630.7840 MBits   630.7404 Mbits/sec
1.00-2.00 sec  913.9200 MBits   913.8106 Mbits/sec
2.00-3.00 sec  943.1040 MBits   943.0399 Mbits/sec
3.00-4.00 sec  933.3760 MBits   933.2143 Mbits/sec
4.00-5.00 sec  848.8960 MBits   848.7019 Mbits/sec
5.00-5.02 sec  13.5680 MBits    828.8189 Mbits/sec
----------------------------------------------------
0.00-5.02 sec  4283.6480 MBits  853.8217 Mbits/sec

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