I’ve heard about the Mikrotik router long before I bought one, and even then it went almost a year before I started playing around with it. Now I’m totally in love, if that is possible! It can do everything!!! EVERYTHING!!
The routerboards are small computers with several networking interfaces, Example the CPU is from 200MHz to 680Mhz and the network interfaces can be up to nine (9) LAN ports built-in and with several possibilities of expanding it further with WLAN on other models. The Mikrotik RouterOS is running on top of this and also works on standard x86 architecture, letting you use it on an existing server!
The routerboards with Mikrotik RouterOS is known for their extreme WLAN! This combination is used in several countries for connecting up rural areas. I’ve seen presentation where it connected two radios 97 kilometers apart on 2.4GHz! Mikrotik has their (proprietary) WLAN protocol with extended timers to allow for extreme ranges. The 802.11 standard would time-out long before the response from the other side.
On the wired side, the Mikrotik supports 10/100 Ethernet and one unit supports 10/100/1000Mbit. I bought a routerboard 450 with five (5) LAN interfaces and I thought that should be enough. Then I discovered all the possibilities with the Mikrotik OS….
They have a recent feature called Ethernet over IP. It sounds slightly stupid, since normally IP is running over Ethernet, not vica versa. But this great feature let’s you bridges two networks (on Layer2) over any IP connection! It allows me to dedicate a port on my local router which logically is on my brothers network 500km away, allowing us to play Xbox directly as we were in the same room and LAN! Perfect! (he has a fiber 10/10Mbit connection, so it is limited to this speed)
The RB450 routerboard
The fifth port is used for sniffing on the interfaces I want to, the fourth is my brothers network (with EoIP), the third is the local LAN, the second is my public network and the first is the WAN interface.. puuhh.. Now I need to order an extra switch so I can trunk several interfaces onto a new switch… (yes, of course the routerboard supports VLAN!)
Besides the EoIP, Mikrotik does PPP, L2TP, PPTP, IPSec and does support a large number of routing protcols (RIP, OSPF, BGP)