Awesome MikroTik Router Demo – Thanks Karl Auer

Quite a technical get-together this one…shows the IntoIT range – from hard-core technical topics and basic IT, through to business development and entrepreneurship.

Here are the slides (PDF): Into6 MikroTik Presentation

Attendees :

Venue : Office of Pambula & District Community Development Group

A very enjoyable encounter – personally I cannot conceive of a more concentrated and efficient way to acquire  knowledge about a particular subject than this – a group of passionate people immersing themselves in a dense analysis of the topic for a solid 2 hour block. I really think these sorts of meetings are gold.

Some brief notes :

  • Grant mentioned his organisation is moving from SnapGear to MikroTik
  • Duxtel is distributor of MikroTik products
  • MikroTik  awesome in Routing and Wireless 
  • In a word, MikroTik is ‘cheap good kit’ – but not so much for the enterprise space
  • Systems include RouterBOARD hardware and RouterOS Software – software can be licensed for use on a computer, so can be virtualised etc
  • The demo kit had
    • great price – $50 for the smallest router (10/100, small processor), $100 with USB, gigabit ethernet, faster processor. Visit eg for the range and pricing.
    • include wifi, 2.4Ghz, bgn
    • flexible port arrangements – can be set up as a switch, or be individually router, put into VLANs etc
    • supports access via ssh, scp, rsynch, telnet, serial (on some models) and more
    • Firewall – very comprehensive, not quite DPI; includes scheduling
    • Also enables ‘hair pinning’ – some routers do it by default, but you need to add a NAT rule – see here –
    • allows scripting, cron-like scheduling of scripts, running scripts on events
    • reasonable logging for debugging…including customisable info messages 
    • low wattage  unit – can be powered via PoE (power over ethernet)
    • they run cool – so you can potentially stack ’em high – but don’t say we said it – conform to OHS
    • one single radio, can be set up as many virtual access points, with different SSIDs and passphrases
    • not open source…proprietary system
    • features failover to an alternative WAN…
    • can connect a 3G dongle via USB – so if WAN goes out it can send an SMS to someone notifying them of the WAN outage – or even switch to 3G Intenet access
    • can attach a disk via the USB and configure a low-cost “NAS” (albeit with a USB 2.0 speed limit)
    • missing some enterprise features – no high availability features, hard to clone, no running vs startup configurations, no power backup etc
    • nice form factor…sturdy, well-manufactured but not designed for really tough working conditions…but heck you only paid $50
    • external antenna available on some models
    • has a useful tool (“Winbox”)that can be installed on an PC/laptop and allows easy configuration. This tool allows  direct access to the router via MAC address if necessary, so can work even if the router is not configured properly for networking
Karl then took the group through some fun exercises…

Basic set-up  – router identity, password, ssid, WPA passphrase, DHCP settings, DNS options, WAN configuration…

A really fun bit was configuring the firewall. He advised that the default set-up features four default rules that protect the router not your network… so you need to set this up yourself, but a fairly basic set-up is easily configured.

Karl (with valuable input from Paul) also talked through some simple principles for preventing some Denial of Service Attacks.

Things missed this outing but which may be covered next time :-

  • hotspots
  • using multiple MikroTiks for Load-balancing between multiple WANs
  • using multiple MikroTiks for bonding DSL lines to boost bandwidth
  • working with VOIP phones – which fail to re-register with the SIP server after failover to a backup WAN
  • setting up VPN tunnelling
  • configuring firewall rules

Another side discussion about usage of Ubiquiti Rocket series to set-up high-bandwidth LAN Links to off-site locations multiple kilometres away… perhaps this could feature in an upcoming talk.

Thanks very much again to Karl Auer for a great talk, and to the Pambula & District Community Development Group for providing a location.

See you at the next talk.

Liam O’Duibhir 
Triple A Cloud Solutions 

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