Many people are wondering what is Mikrotik? Maybe for most people who know about IT already know what Mikrotik is. But for many lay people, they do not really understand the meaning of Mikrotik.
There are even some people who misinterpret the proxy itself. Some people think that Mikrotik is a tool in the form of a Router and Wifi, when in fact it is not.
What is Mikrotik?
What is Mikrotik? To answer this question, let’s discuss about what is meant by the following Mikrotik.
Mikrotik is a company that produces computer network equipment, and not the name of the tool or network device itself.
What do you mean? If you are still confused, let’s discuss and see together an explanation of What is Mikrotik? Definition of Mikrotik are as follows:
Definition of Mikrotik
Mikrotik is a Latvian company that produces hardware and software related to computer network systems.
The company SIA Mikrotīkls is the founder of the Mikrotik brand which is a company in the city of Riga, Latvia with more than 280 employees working there. Latvia is a former Soviet Union which is now Russia.
Mikrotik initially aims to become an Internet Service Provider (PJI) or Internet Service Provider (ISP). Initially Mikrotik served its customers using wireless technology or wireless.
Currently Mikrotik provides services to many wireless ISPs for computer network access services in many countries in the world.
To know more about Mikrotik History from its inception until now, you can read this article about Mikrotik History.
MikroTik now provides hardware and software for internet connectivity and computer networks in most countries around the world.
Mikrotik produces various kinds of computer network devices such as:
- Mikrotik Routerboard
- Cloud Core Router (CCR)
- Cloud Router Switch (CRS)
- Outdoor Wireless Devices
- Indoor Wireless Device
- Wireless Antenna
- IoT devices
- Network interface
In addition to producing hardware, Mikrotik also produces several software (software) such as:
- Cloud Hosted Router (CHR)
- Bandwidth Test
RouterOS is one of the most widely used Mikrotik products and is installed on most of the hardware (hardware) launched by Mikrotik.
Meanwhile RouterBoard is one of the most popular and widely used hardware devices in the world.
Well, this combination of Mikrotik RouterOS and RouterBoard products is often referred to as “Mikrotik” which refers as a product name, not as a company name.
But it doesn’t matter, it’s okay because it has become commonplace, especially in some countries in the world to mention the name of the product with the name of the company.
Because it is easier and simpler to mention Mikrotik than to mention the name of its product, such as RB1100AHx4, CCR 1036, or hEX. It’s better and easier to call Mikrotik indeed.
So here we just want to try to explain while slightly straightening the understanding of Mikrotik which may have a different understanding. For the next, we will describe the understanding of several types of popular Mikrotik products such as RouterOS and RouterBoard.
Types of Mikrotik
As we explained earlier, Mikrotik has several types of products that they manufacture and are used by many countries around the world.
1. MikroTik RouterOS
MikroTik RouterOS™ is a Linux-based software product made by Mikrotik which is a special operating system for computer network devices that is specifically used to manage computer networks.
This RouterOS Operating System can be used to turn ordinary computers into reliable network routers, with various features made specifically for wired and wireless networks.
Mikrotik RouterOS can be installed on a regular computer or PC with x86 architecture (32 bit) using Disk on Module (DoM) or using the RouterOS installer CD.
In addition, Mikrotik RouterOS is also installed on almost all hardware made by Mikrotik that uses a processor architecture:
- MIPSBE untuk hardware : CRS1xx, CRS2xx, CRS312-4C+8XG, CRS326-24S+2Q+, DISC, FiberBox, hAP, hAP ac, hAP ac lite, LDF, LHG, ltAP mini, mANTBox, mAP, NetBox, NetMetal, PowerBox, PWR-Line, QRT, RB9xx, SXTsq, cAP, hEX Lite, RB4xx, wAP, BaseBox, DynaDish, RB2011, SXT, OmniTik, Groove, Metal, Sextant, RB7xx, hEX PoE.
- MIPSLE untuk hardware : RB5xx, RB1xx (discontinued).
- ARM64 untuk hardware : CCR2004.
- SMIPS untuk hardware : hAP mini, hAP lite.
- TILE untuk hardware : CCR1xxx.
- PowerPC (PPC) untuk hardware : RB3xx, RB600, RB8xx, RB1100AHx2, RB1100AH, RB1100, RB1200.
- ARM untuk hardware : cAP ac, CRS305-1G-4S+, CRS309-1G-8S+, CRS317-1G-16S+, CRS326-24G-2S+, CRS328-24P-4S+, CRS328-4C-20S-4S+, DISC AC, hAP ac², LDF ac, LHG ac, RB4011, SXTsq (ac series), Wireless Wire, Chateau, RB3011, RB1100AHx4, RB450Gx4.
- x86 untuk hardware : RB230, X86 (komputer/PC).
- MMIPS untuk hardware : hEX (RB750Gr3), hEX S, RBMxx.
What does the processor architecture mean? Just google it to make it clearer. The point is that every Mikrotik hardware product has a different type of processor, and Mikrotik makes a RouterOS Operating System for each of these processor types.
So that when installing, updating or reinstalling the OS, it must match the processor architecture.
How to Access Mikrotik RouterOS
This Mikrotik RouterOS can be accessed and configured in several ways, namely:
- Using the Command line via Console cable, telnet, or SSH.
- Using a GUI application made by Mikrotik, namely Winbox.
- Using Webfig via a web browser.
- Using Android Apps.
Of the various ways to access Mikrotik, the easiest and most widely used is using the Winbox application. Because Winbox is an application made by Mikrotik which is very user friendly.
This of course makes it easier for users to access and configure their Mikrotik devices.
Mikrotik RouterOS License Level System
Mikrotik RouterOS is not a free or paid software. You have to buy a Mikrotik RouterOS license if you want to use or install it on your own device, for example, you want to install it on your own PC.
But if you buy Mikrotik hardware, for example, buying a Mikrotik RB450G or something else, the RouterOS license is included, so you don’t need to buy another license.
Well, Mikrotik differentiates its RouterOS license into several levels according to its hardware capabilities and specifications. There are 6 levels in the Mikrotik RouterOS License, starting from Level 0 then 1, 3 to 6.
Level 1 is the Demo version of Mikrotik can be used for free with very limited functions. Of course, each level has different abilities according to the price, Level 6 is the highest level with the most complete functions.
Briefly, the Mikrotik RouterOS license level can be described and explained as follows:
- Level 0 (free); does not require a license to use it and use of the feature is only limited to 24 hours after installation.
- Level 1 (demo); at this level you can use it as a standard routing function only with 1 setting and have no time limit to use it.
- Level 3; already includes level 1 plus the ability to manage all hardware based on Network Card or Ethernet and management of client-type wireless devices (CPE).
- Level 4; includes levels 1 and 3 plus the ability to manage wireless access point (AP)-type devices.
- Level 5; includes levels 1, 3 and 4 plus the ability to manage a larger number of hotspot users.
- Level 6; covers all levels and does not have any limitations.
For more details, see the table explaining the differences in the following Mikrotik RouterOS license levels:
|Price ($)||no key||reg||don’t sell||45||95||250|
|Initial Config Support||–||–||–||15d||30d||30d|
|Wireless AP||24h trial||–||–||yes||yes||yes|
|Wireless Client & Bridge||24h trial||–||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Routing protocols||24h trial||–||yes*||yes||yes||yes|
|EoIP tunnels||24h trial||1||∞||∞||∞||∞|
|PPPoE tunnels||24h trial||1||200||200||500||∞|
|PPTP tunnels||24h trial||1||200||200||500||∞|
|L2TP tunnels||24h trial||1||200||200||500||∞|
|OVPN tunnels||24h trial||1||200||200||∞||∞|
|VLAN interfaces||24h trial||1||∞||∞||∞||∞|
|HotSpot active users||24h trial||1||1||200||500||∞|
|RADIUS client||24h trial||–||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Web proxy||24h trial||–||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Userman active sessions||24h trial||1||10||20||50||∞|
|Number of KVM guests||none||1||∞||∞||∞||∞|
(*) – BGP is available under license level 3 for RouterBoard only. For other devices must use license level 4 or higher.
All licenses above are:
- Will not expire (expired)
- Includes free support for 15-30 days via email
- There is no limit to the number of Interface usage
- Each license is only for each device
- Free Update forever (Unlimited)
In addition to the license for RouterOS, Mikrotik also makes its own license for the Cloud Hosted Router (CHR).
2. Mikrotik RouterBoard
Mikrotik RouterBoard is one of the hardware products (hardware) in the form of Router and Wifi which has become one package with its RouterOS. Routerboard is like an integrated mini computer where in one device is embedded Processor, RAM, ROM, and Memory Storage and RouterOS Operating System.
Advantages of Mikrotik RouterBoard
Mikrotik Routerboard has several advantages or advantages compared to using a PC / computer. With RouterBoard we no longer need to install the operating system, because it is already available in one package. We just have to use it by setting or configuring using Winbox or other tools.
So this RouterBoard is like a laptop. When we buy a laptop, it is certain that there are computer components and there is already an operating system, just use it.
By using RouterBoard you can perform the functions of a router without the need to install RouterOS on the PC / computer again.
This is because all the functions on the router already exist in the routerboard and also this RouterBoard is equipped with several ethernet ports. So there is no need to buy an additional ethernet interface, as is the case when using a PC/computer.
In addition, when compared to a PC/computer installed with routerOS, this RouterBoard is much smaller in size, lighter and saves electricity because it only uses a low-power adapter.
The advantage of the Mikrotik Routerboard that many people are interested in is the price. When compared to other types of devices and other brands with the same function, this Routerboard is much cheaper.
You could say the cheapest in its class, with that many features and good capabilities and the durability of the device is quite durable.
Mikrotik Routerboard is sold in several countries with a price range of $300 to $200, depending on the type and specifications of the device.
RouterBoard with WiFi
RouterBoard is usually just a wired-based network device (Wired) equipped with several ethernet ports that have a speed of 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet) or 1000 Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet).
However, in certain series there are several RouterBoards that can also function as wifi or an additional wifi card can be added. For example, Routerboard series RB411, RB433, RB600, RB951 and so on.
RouterBoards that can be added with a wifi card (wireless card) are also widely used by wireless internet service providers, such as RT/RW net for example.
This is because usually in 1 board can add more than 1 wifi card so that it can increase the use of antennas which will increase the range of the wifi signal.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) RouterBoard
What’s even more interesting is that certain RouterBoard series are equipped with Power over Ethernet (PoE). This PoE feature serves to distribute electrical power on the RouterBoard without using the power adapter cable. but so one with the ethernet cable (LAN cable).
So the electrical power is combined with the LAN cable, so there is only 1 cable that plugs into the RouterBoard. If you don’t have PoE, you usually have to plug the power cable directly into the Mikrotik, plus the LAN cable, so more than 1 cable plugs into the Mikrotik.
The application of PoE is very useful for Wireless (WiFi) use, where we need to install the RouterBoard on an outdoor pole or a high place, where the power source (power plug) is at the bottom with a long distance.
However, there is a distance limit that must be considered when using this PoE.
Disadvantages of RouterBoard
In addition to having many advantages, Mikrotik Routerboard also has disadvantages when compared to using a PC / computer. Some of the disadvantages of RouterBoard include:
1. RouterBoard components cannot be replaced
As explained earlier, this Routerboard is a device that is integrated into one package. If one component is damaged, it cannot be replaced, and must be replaced as a whole, aka buy a new one.
Except for the additional wifi card components that can be easily removed and installed. Other components are patented and cannot be removed for replacement.
For example, if there is damage to the ethernet port or the processor, the entire board must be replaced, because these components have been planted from the manufacturer and cannot be replaced individually.
2. Low RouterBoard Component Specifications
RouterBoard Device Specifications when compared to a PC / computer is very much different. Old school PCs/computers have at least a Dual Core CPU, 1GB RAM, 80GB memory.
Try to compare with RouterBoard which mostly has 1 CPU core, RAM less than 128 MB, Memory less than 512 MB.
Like earth and sky right? Therefore, PCs/computers are used for computer network needs that demand stability and high performance.
Examples are applied for high-level routing, application access capacity (bandwidth) management, firewalls, wireless access point servers (WiFi Hotspots), backhaul links, Virtual Private Netword (VPN) servers and many others.
3. Mikrotik Cloud Core Router (CCR)
In addition to RouterBoard, Mikrotik also produces hardware type Cloud Core Router (CCR). What is Mikrotik Cloud Core Router (CCR)? How is it different from the Mikrotik RouterBoard?
Understanding Mikrotik Cloud Core Router (CCR)
The Mikrotik Cloud Core Router is a hardware product produced by Mikrotik that has high hardware component specifications, much higher than the Mikrotik RouterBoard.
Advantages of Mikrotik Cloud Core Router (CCR)
Previously it was discussed about the shortcomings of the Mikrotik Routerboard, one of which was the low hardware specifications, far from the specifications of the PC / computer. Well, to answer the need for high specifications that Mikrotik issued this CCR product.
The most striking difference in CCR specifications with Routerboard is in the number of Core Processors or CPUs. Mikrotik CCR is equipped with multicore CPUs ranging from 4 Cores to 72 CPU Cores. In addition, the RAM capacity is also large up to 16 GB.
In terms of specifications, it is clear that CCR is not inferior to PC/computer, right. With advantages such as the Routerboard which has a slim shape because it has become a hardware and RouterOS package.
In addition, the CCR shape is elongated and made specifically for use in Rack or Rackmout. However, there are also several CCR series that are not equipped with this Rackmount feature.
Disadvantages of Mikrotik Cloud Core Router (CCR)
Like Routerboard, Mikrotik Cloud Core Router also has drawbacks. The most obvious drawback is on the price side. With high specifications, of course, it is directly proportional to the price of the product.
If the Routerboard is sold in the $300 to $200 price range, the Mikrotik CCR is sold from $300 to $3000. Depends on the type of device and its specifications.
4. Mikrotik Cloud Router Switch (CRS)
In addition to network routing purposes, we also need devices for switching that have many Ethernet ports, for example 24 ports or 48 ports. Now to meet these needs, Mikrotik released this Cloud Router Switch (CRS) product.
Understanding Mikrotik Cloud Router Switch (CRS)
Mikrotik Cloud Router Switch (CRS) is one of the hardware products made by Mikrotik which is equipped with many Ethernet Port interfaces that are devoted to network switching purposes and distribution of network connections to clients.
Besides being equipped with many Ethernet port interfaces, Mikrotik CRS is also equipped with an SFP port for Fiber Optic connections on certain types of devices.
Advantages of Mikrotik Router Switch (CRS)
Mikrotik CRS is similar to Mikrotik Routerboard, the difference is only in the number and variety of interface ports which are much more than Routerboard.
Although made specifically for switching, Mikrotik CRS is also equipped with Mikrotik RouterOS which has all the same features as CCR and Routerboard.
In addition, Mikrotik CRS is also equipped with a special chip for switching purposes so that the CRS switching capacity is much larger than the Routerboard.
Disadvantages of Mikrotik Cloud Router Switch (CRS)
Just like the Mikrotik CCR, the Mikrotik CRS is also more expensive than the Routerboard. This is because the number of interface ports is much more, even though the hardware specifications are not far from the routerboard.
In addition, although it is also equipped with RouterOS, the ability of CRS to perform router functions is not as good as the routerboard and CCR. Because this product is made specifically for switching. Although it can still be used for routing, bridging, etc. with minimal capabilities.
5. Mikrotik Cloud Hosted Router (CHR)
In addition to producing routers and switches in the form of physical goods such as Routerboards, CCRs, and CRS, Mikrotik also produces virtual router devices called Cloud Hosted Routers (CHR).
The Mikrotik Cloud Hosted Router (CHR) is a product made by Mikrotik in the form of a virtual image file created specifically to run on Virtual Machines such as VMWare, VirtualBox, HyperV, Qemu, etc.
This Mikrotik CHR was created to meet the needs of learning practices in the lab and also the need for router installation on cloud server infrastructure on the Internet or Intranet.
For a clearer and in-depth review on the Mikrotik CHR, we will discuss it another time in a special article. For other types of Mikrotik, we will also discuss specifically later in the next article.
Mikrotik devices equipped with RouterOS have a lot of functions and features that we can use.
Mikrotik serves to perform routing on a computer network by passing various kinds of data packets from the server to the client. We can manage what data packets are allowed to enter and leave Mikrotik with the firewall function.
Mikrotik also functions to handle wireless networks by using the Hotspot feature with user management capabilities and setting quota and bandwidth for each user easily.
We can use Mikrotik as VPN and Proxy Server on intranet and internet networks. Setting the bandwidth allocation for each user can also be done easily on Mikrotik.
In addition, there are many more Mikrotik functions that we can get. The following is a list of features and functions supported by Mikrotik RouterOS:
1. TCP/IP Protocol Handling:
- Firewalls and NAT
- Routing – Static routing
- Data Rate Management
- Hot spot
- Point-to-Point tunneling protocols
- Simple tunnels
- Web proxy
- Caching DNS client
- Universal Client
2. Layer Connectivity:
- Virtual LAN