VPN issue - Online(Heartbeat only)

We are currently seeing a device reporting Online(Heartbeat Only). Is there currently an issue with Balena’s VPN? That is the most common cause we’ve seen for this kind of issue. If not, what else can cause this? The internet at this location is reliable and not experiencing any other problems.
This is an rPi eB+, on balenaCloud. I’d appreciate any word on what might be happening, as the balena vpn connection to our devices is critical for our operations.

Thanks for any help.
Kathryn Forsythe

Yes, the “heartbeat only” means that the device is not able to connect to the vpn.

There can sometimes be transient errors with the VPN, f.e. when scaling down pods, but right now, it looks like all systems are operational: https://status.balena.io/

One thing you can do if the issue persists is to make sure that network fulfills all the network requirements: Network Setup on balenaOS 2.x - Balena Documentation

Are there other devices on the network working? Has the device worked before on this network?

@zwhitchcox Thanks.

The network fulfills all the requirements. The device has been working well on this network for about 2 years. We do not have other devices running on balena on this same network. Fortunately, it did just come back online.

What is the best way to handle outages like this in the future? Is there a way to prevent them from occurring, or to resolve them more quickly? What are potential causes, when the device has been working well for years and the network isn’t experiencing any other problems.


The device should still function properly, even if it isn’t connected to the VPN. The containers will all still run and function normally, the device just won’t be able to update. This is unfortunately a fact of life, and could be due to the local network, ISP, Balena’s own servers, or anywhere in between, so the best practice is just to plan for the inevitable. Typically the problem is usually with a firewall or some issue on the local network. It can also be containers interfering with the device’s networking, but unless this is happening fairly frequently, that is most likely not the case. If our vpn servers are down for some reason though, it will be on https://status.balena.io, and we will immediately try to resolve the issue as fast as we can.

But we do everything we can to keep devices online and connected to the VPN as much as possible, of course, and if you want me to look into this particular device, I can see if I can figure out what exactly happened. I will just need the device ID and support access.

Again though, your device will still function normally, even when not connected to the VPN, it just will not be able to receive updates or be tunneled into through Balena cloud, but as I mentioned, the device should hopefully be able to withstand intermittent outages.

You can also check the Diagnostics tab on your device page to make sure there is nothing configured incorrectly on the network/device.