Update on Beaglebone Black Tor relay

My Beaglebone Black (BBB) has been humming along nicely as a Tor relay for the last two and half weeks.  I upgraded to 0.2.4.17-rc by building from source on the BBB with no issues.  I probably should have tried cross compiling, but it was a small enough package that it didn’t take too long.

If you squint, you'll see my blip...  From Tor metrics

If you squint, you’ll see my blip… From Tor metrics

While it’s not the fastest of relays, I’d like to think it’s a good way to run a stable, low power Tor server on a consumer Internet connection.  Most of my other computers are either laptops or are not always on, which isn’t the best for server reliability.

While its stats aren’t earth-shattering, I think they are impressive given the hardware.  Lately, it’s been averaging about 2.0 Mb/sec and is consuming about 70% of the CPU.  The log format changed a bit in 0.2.4.17-rc, and here is a snippet:

Sep 13 23:16:40.000 [notice] Circuit handshake stats since last time: 16571/16581 TAP, 15/15 NTor.
Sep 14 00:16:40.000 [notice] Circuit handshake stats since last time: 9883/9884 TAP, 7/7 NTor.
Sep 14 01:16:40.000 [notice] Circuit handshake stats since last time: 710/710 TAP, 1/1 NTor.
Sep 14 02:16:40.000 [notice] Circuit handshake stats since last time: 4542/4542 TAP, 2/2 NTor.
Sep 14 03:16:40.000 [notice] Circuit handshake stats since last time: 11813/11813 TAP, 12/12 NTor.
Sep 14 03:16:45.000 [notice] Heartbeat: Tor's uptime is 6 days 0:00 hours, with 652 circuits open. I've sent 115.04 GB and received 117.08 GB.
Sep 14 03:16:45.000 [notice] Average packaged cell fullness: 87.821%
Sep 14 03:16:45.000 [notice] TLS write overhead: 8%

I was getting an entry to the effect, “Your computer is too slow… set MaxAdvertisedBandwidth.” This is what I currently have in my torrc:

MaxAdvertisedBandwidth 200 KB # 200 KB/s
RelayBandwidthRate 520 KB # Throttle traffic to 520 KB/s
RelayBandwidthBurst 640 KB # But allow burts up to 640 KB/s

The relay is now in the “Ramping up as a guard relay” phase as described in Roger Dingledine’s latest post on the life cycle of a relay.  I’ll keep watching to make sure it’s not overloaded, but I’m not noticing any degradation in my Internet connection with the relay running.

I emailed the tor-dev mailing list, asking for some advice about where to take this thing, but never received a reply.  I thought maybe it could be useful in the Torouter project, but the BBB only has one NIC.  That and the Torouter project apparently isn’t being developed anymore and I haven’t yet read the mailing list history to find out why.

Anyway, I’m happy to contribute to the network!

3 thoughts on “Update on Beaglebone Black Tor relay

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