Port Forwarding and remote access, Hologram Nova

Is there a way to do port forwarding on the Hologram Nova?
Are there other ways to access the Raspberry Pi remotely (while the Pi is connected to the internet with the Nova…)? Preferably with VNC.

Look into spacebridge a service Hologram offers. I am not familiar with it but it allows you to ssh into devices connected via Nova.

Note using VNC could get very expensive as data costs are very high. If you for sure want to use VNC and have some idea how regularly you will be accessing it I would look into holograms high bandwidth dataplans.

If you just use the pay-as-you-go plan I wold expect you could easily hit $50-100 per VNC session depending on how long you had it on. To do what I think you want to do I would actually look for a dedicated USB modem with LTE CAT 3+ technology. the LTE-M1 technology, which the Nova uses is not really made for high bandwidth, low latency applications like remote desktop.

If you can use a text based interface like SSH then the Nova may be more appropriate.

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Hi Andrew, Thanks for the detailed answer!
I forgot to mention one key fact, I’m using the Nova with a 3rd party cellular provider that has a very inexpensive data plan, so VNC is fine for me.
But, I think that for Spacebridge you must use Hologram sim & Dashboard (can’t do it with a 3rd party sim).
So, Do you guys know how to port forwarding in the Nova? or maybe of other ways to access the Pi remotely?


Ah ok, so there are two parts, 1 does the network operator have a system to port forward (this is what spacebridge does) and 2, does the hardware allow incomming connections? The Nova does allow incomming connections (see their example using netcat here: https://hologram.io/docs/guide/cloud/message-to-device/

The difficulty is most cell networks basically operate as a LAN with a massive NAT between the cellular device and the internet (a large oversimplification). So to “port forward” you need control of the “router” in this simplified example. That “router” is owned by the network operator not the cell modem.

You will have to work with your simcard provider to see if they have a way for you to address your device from the internet. Hologram offers spacebridge for this but maybe not at a price point you can use. The other option (which is essentially what spacebridge does) is to reverse ssh (see: Using Reverse SSH to Communicate with an Isolated LAN | WTI - Western Telematic, Inc.) or setup a vpn so that the rpi automatically connects to the vpn and you can then connect your laptop or whatever to the same vpn and vnc from there.

TLDR: port forwarding is done by the network operator, not the modem.

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I would be interested in hearing the outcome of your Raspberry Pi connectivity experiment.
Also, if it’s ok can you mention the name of the 3rd party carrier please.
We are using the Nova and Hologram to soon operate over 500 IOT devices
which are used for advertising.
Just rolling out the first dozen units yesterday.
We use only the ssh tunnel to log into the PI-zero unix OS if needed.
The units call “home” to see if content update is required and use wget for downloading. Other operations use ftp but that’s about it.
SSH, wget and ftp along with cron of course - basic unix stuff.
We limit the calls home to save on airtime to twice per day, but the nova stays connected at all times.
We may look into a less expensive alternative for future builds hence the question about your inexpensive 3rd party carrier.

Hello everyone,

Thanks for the great thread! Definitely curious to see @Ohad’s results because we’re always looking for feedback and ways we can improve our offerings.

Also wanted to let you know that we do offer custom plans for large deployments that are catered to the user and use case. Since IoT is such a broad field we understand that a bike sharing company has different usage patterns from a crop monitoring company and multi-national companies look for different things than companies that only operate in one country.

I encourage people to reach out to sales@hologram.io if you have any questions about our pricing and how we can tailor our offers to your use case.


Hi Rich,
Sorry for the late reply.
So far I got no success in neither of the options that Andrew suggested me.

  1. I tried reverse SSH with no sucsess
  2. I tried contact my simcard provider but they won’t do port forwarding.
  3. But I haven’t yet tried setting up a VPN for the RPi.

Regarding your question about the simcard provider, I’m using “HOT mobile”, but it is an Israeli provider so I doubt it will be of any help…
Cellular data plans are very chip in Israel. All the main providers (Orange, Cellcom, Pelephone…) charge about 7$ per month for 20gb or 15$ for 50gb. Most of the data plans are “Unlimited” so if you’ll use more then your quota the internet speed will reduce dramatically. The normal connection speed here is usually quite fast for all the main providers.

Hi Ohad,
Thanks for your reply and clarifying your location outside the US.
This is a topic I will continue to follow to stay on top of all data options.

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