Watch this space.. A new Pro is born..

Watch this space.. A new Pro is born..

Jan 22

After a bit of a hiatus, the RouterBoard.Pro website is about to start churning out all the lovely information you faithful supporters look forward to..

 

Big changes soon..

Watch this space!

RB2011LS-IN now listed on MikroTik website

RB2011LS-IN now listed on MikroTik website

May 11

Just noticed this morning that MikroTik have now listed the new RB2011LS-IN model on their website (http://routerboard.com/RB2011LS-IN).

 

The ‘S’ version of this latest generation of router has a single SFP port making it ideal for long-distance inter-office connections or FTTH internet connectivity.

I’m still not convinced what the value is of having five 100BaseT ports alongside five 1000BaseTX. Perhaps MikroTik could offer some use case suggestions? The main one I can think of right now would be for bonding multiple WAN connections, but then there may not be a use for that on this ‘S’ model if FTTH is being used….

Some slight website updates

Some slight website updates

May 04

I’ve updated the routerboard products list on the right-hand side of the website. Let me know if you spot any broken links. I probably should find a better way to manage these as the list is getting quite long.

Also, there are now ‘share on facebook’ and ‘share on google+’ links on every article or page. Just click the ‘Share’ button to the right of each article and you will now see them in the list. Share away!

Report: MikroTik User Meeting 2012 – Warsaw, Poland (MuM)

Report: MikroTik User Meeting 2012 – Warsaw, Poland (MuM)

Apr 23

Phew, finally I get some time to write this event report. Apologies to all those who have been patiently waiting all this time.

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Warsaw at night

So, this was my first MuM event. I’m a relative newbie to MikroTik – somehow managed to dodge the lure of these excellent pieces of kit until sometime last year! As i’m based in the UK, flying out to Poland wasn’t too far, and I managed to kill two birds with one stone: attend the largest European MuM to date, and also participate in the excellent MTCWE training course hosted by Ron Touw (@Nest_Wireless). More about that later. Flew out from London Luton airport with Nick Shore from LinItx (@NickShore), my first time flying with WhizAir. Had no problems with them at all, but I do recommend booking online directly with them and paying the extra £7 for extra leg-room seating. Much better experience all round and no lengthy check-ins. Anyway, enough of the general blah, i’ll leave that to the end of the article, let’s get on with the MuM.

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Tranquil Marzukas hotel atrium before MuM start

This MuM was held at the MCC Mazurkas Conference Centre & Hotel in Warsaw, Poland. This is a 4-star venue with over 150 hotel rooms and function suites capable of accommodating over 1000 people. Ideal for the MuM! Fortunately as the MTCWE course was running for the 3 days before the MuM kicked off, I had opportunity to sample the Hotel and local area before the majority of people arrived. The hotel was about 30 mins by train outside of the main city centre. Not the nicest of locations, but for the purpose of a conference it was fine. Taxi fares to and from the airport seemed to vary wildly by all accounts.

The hotel wi-fi set-up was a bit strange, although it did work. Well, it worked until the Wednesday evening before the MuM, then their DHCP server ran out of leases! Great planning. Perhaps they should have asked MikroTik for some network consultancy in advance ? :-)

Kicking off on the Wednesday evening was a registration & networking (people) event hosted by MikroTik. There had been hints (not so subtle) that registered visitors to the MuM would receive some free hardware upon attending. What I don’t think people expected, myself included, was that MikroTik would be giving everyone not only a nice bag, couple of t-shirts and a pen, but also the latest routerboard 751G (!) and a Groove 5Hn. Two routers! Perfect, just what I needed, and no doubt to a lot of other’s too. Kudos, MikroTik, it was very generous of you.

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Quickset demo

Okay, so day 1, Thursday. Normunds Rustanovics from MikroTik starts the event with a talk about the new ‘Quickset’ feature in ROS v5.13+ (on compatible devices). This is a neat feature that allows you to quickly get your routerboard up and running through a web interface with a minimal configuration. Then came the part everyone was waiting for; the new product line-up and announcements!

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MikroTik Cloud Core CCR-1036 Router

New product announcements that stood out to me were the Cloud Core Router CCR-1036, the RB2011 range and the metal version of the Groove called ‘Metal SSHPN’.

The CCR-1036 is due to release this summer. I think we’ll be lucky if we actually see it by then, but we can only hope and push MikroTik to get this one out the door! It is the highest spec routerboard to date, sporting a total of 36 cores (split into different tasks) on a bespoke network-device processor chip. Not sure if it’s an FPGA or not but will update this when I find out. The CCR-1036 also comes with 12x gigabit ethernet ports, 4x SFP ports, a USB port and serial console port, with a maximum PPS throughput in the region of 15 million PPS and an ethernet backplane size of 16gbit/sec. I must admit, I am a little surprised at the specification. Where are the SFP+ ports for 10gige? Why only 12 gigabit ethernet ports? Why a tiny touchscreen LCD? I think these are questions that MikroTik should try and answer and make clear to their target audience for this device. No pricing was announced, but my guess it will still be under $1k usd. Yes, it’s still extremely good value for it’s performance, but have they missed a trick with some of my questions above? Only time will tell.

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RB2011 routerboard Range

Most of you are probably already aware of the RB2011 range coming down the line. The distinct red and black enclosures will no doubt remind you. I wonder if this is a new trend for routerboard enclosures? I hope so, but I can’t help but think many years ago there was another cheap brand of networking hardware with similar colours.

I’m still a bit puzzled as to where I would use one of these routerboards. Five gigabit ports, five fast ethernet and a single SFP port. Sure, SFP rocks for linking up your two offices over fibre. Great. Four gigabit, great. But why four fast ethernet? I suppose if you need SFP, then this is your only option (until the CCR-1036 comes out). The most likely scenario where I would recommend one of these to be used would be a SOHO environment where they have two offices they wish to link together, and more than one WAN connection they need to load balance across,  making use of the fast ethernet ports. I did like the black security wall bracket though. Nicely designed and well thought out.

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Metal 'Groove' TBC

The metal groove. This was one of my favourites for the day. A really nice die-cast enclosure, properly sealed against the weather.

I’m a big fan of metal enclosures when it comes to matters of RF. Isolating your routerboards from interference can make such a huge improvement sometimes to the speed and reliability of your wireless link that it really should not be ignored. Hopefully the next product we’ll see from MikroTik will be a metal-backed SXT type product for those CPE or P2P links. It’d be ideal for busy shared towers where everyone and their dog is saturating the band(s) with low quality plastic enclosures with spurious RF going everywhere!

 

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Interactive session on OSPF & wireless link with Ron Touw & Leo De Geer

Throughout the rest of Thursday and through to Friday there were some excellent talks by MikroTik professionals from around the globe.

One which stood out to me was hosted by Leo De Geer (from Satellithuset, Sweden) and Ron Touw (Nest Wireless) which talked about real world wireless link problems. In an interactive session with the audience, various useful tools and utilities as part of the MikroTik suite were demonstrated, including the spectral analyser and the advanced features inside ‘The Dude’. I strongly recommend you download the slides from this presentation and all of the others as there is always something to learn.

I won’t bore you by repeating the content of all of the great presentations held at the MuM, so let’s continue. There were a LOT of exhibitors at this MuM. Attendee’s really were spoilt for choice. All of my photographs from the MuM are at the bottom of this article, but i’ll call out a few vendors which really caught my eye now.

 

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300W Wind Turbine from i4wifi

i4wifi had a nice stand featuring some eco power solutions for your routerboards. Offering complete solutions including wind turbines, batteries, charging management, etc., it really was a full package. I was particularly surprised at how cheap these solutions can be now, with the smaller 300W wind turbine coming in just over a few hundred euros retail. They also stock a weather station product which I think could be a really nice companion with one of these wind generators. Think: Hill, Turbine, Routerboard, Weather Station + 3G, probably for not much more than 500 euros.

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Impressive antennas from MTI Wireless Edge

I also really liked the range of antenna products from MTI Wireless Edge. MTI manufacture a wide range of antennas covering all of the bands you are most likely ever going to need. With over 40 years experience in the field they are possibly one of the longest serving antenna manufacturers in Europe. A really professional range of products, expertly promoted by MTI’s Michel Bodenheimer. Real nice chap, drop him a note for your high-quality antenna needs. A nice simple selection for 2.4 and 5ghz p2p links with their “half foot” and “foot” panel antennas, all with a decent die-cast metal backing.

 

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Jirous antennas

Jirous had an impressive range of antennas on display on their stand. They manufacturer a wide range of high quality antennas, with some very high gain dual polarity types, for example the JRC-32 model, for those with exceptional needs! This really is a beast of an antenna. There are a lot of companies out there making antennas, but can be assured that what you get from Jirous will be a top class piece of equipment.

 

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EDCWifi range of RB replacement enclosures

For those of you wanting to customise your routerboards in your own enclosures, EDCWifi were promoting some of their product portfolio. They offer a wide range of replacement & upgrade enclosures for the various routerboards that MikroTik offer. Custom colours and silk screening are an option for bulk orders and the pricing was very keen. Something that stood out to me was a metal enclosure for the new 751 range routerboard. Definitely worth a chat to these top guys if you have any bespoke routerboard enclosure requirements.

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If you want fast ethernet throughput, then you have to take a look at what HotLava is doing. What do you get with some nice guys from California and some blistering fast ethernet adapters? 200gbps throughput, that’s what! Manufacturing a range of gigabit and 10-gigabit multi-port ethernet cards, it is now a case for motherboard chipset manufacturers (Ahem, Intel) to catch up and let these cards fly! Real insane stuff.

 

Apologies to all the other exhibitors whom I haven’t written about. As you can imagine, time and space are limited but please everyone have a look through the photo album at the end of this article for plenty of photographs from all of the exhibitors. Apologies for the quality of photos, the AWB on my phone camera did not agree with the interior lighting of the hotel!

 

Ok, so this almost concludes my event report from my first MuM event. MikroTik wrapped up the event nicely by running a raffle, both of their own and also from various exhibitors who kindly gave away many products. I myself won a panel antenna (along with about 30 other people!). Thanks again for the gift.

Whether you are a casual RB user or a networking professional reliant on MikroTik products, I strongly urge you to consider going to the next MuM event near you as they really are a good way to get insight on new products, meet lots of exhibitors and like-minded people such as yourself. Networking opportunities a’plenty (pun intended).

There are usually training courses being held before the MuM where you can get on-board the MikroTik training programme (starting with the MTCNA). I gained my MTCWE certification during the three days before this MuM event which was a great course to attend. Ron Touw is a great trainer with a huge amount of experience and a massive history in the field of RF (not just in Wi-Fi). If you need a routerboard Wi-Fi guru, Ron’s your guy!

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Pre-MuM Dinner in Poland!

I met many new people and made some new friends. See you all at the next MuM!

 

Please see all of my photographs from the MuM below. Apologies again for the quality, I promise to take a better camera and perhaps some video footage at the next one I go to!

 

 

MikroTik MuM 2012

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I’m still here!

I’m still here!

Apr 13

Don’t worry.. I’m still here.. The routerboard.Pro blog has been quiet since I got back from the MuM due to some other life-commitments (how dare they?!), but it will be back in full force soon.. including my write-up of the MuM which I have promised you all!

Watch this space..

MikroTik Certified Consultant

MikroTik Certified Consultant

Mar 30

Due to the recent certification (MTCWE) and my attendance of the MikroTik MuM & forum, I am now listed on the MikroTik website as a Certified Consultant. There are only three of us in the country listed at present and I can whole-heartedly recommend the other two: Nick Shore (@NickShore) & Ron Touw (@Nest_Wireless).

If you require any MikroTik related consultancy, please feel free to contact either myself or the other two top guys mentioned above. I am sure that between us, anything is possible! :-)