It’s September 2021 now, two years since the first Mikrotik ROSv7 beta was out. After two years now we have ROSv7.1 with a huge number of feature updates. With the latest RC i.e., v7.1 RC3 now we have some game changing features like:
- Zerotier for ARM and ARM64 based routers.
- Docker container support.
- Completely rewritten routing engine.
- New syntax for routing filters.
- IPv6 NAT.
At times it has taken Mikrotik about 4-6 months to release the next beta. The main reason behind this was the rewriting of the routing engine. RouterOS v6 was based on old Linux kernel v3.3.5+ which was the culprit behind many feature restrictions like limited OpenVPN support, no recursive routing, no IPv6 NAT or fastpath etc. Most of these limitations are now gone. here I will discuss about some of the above features that I have tested.
I have personally tested VxLAN tunnels between Mikrotik and Non-Mikrotik devices (VyOS, Ubuntu) and it works well. Now I can finally overcome EoIP limitations due to my ISP’s 1:1 NAT using IPACCT NAS.
With Docker container support recently being added, now the possibilities are endless. We can now containerize any docker instance provided we have support for the architecture on the CPU of the router. This is a well played strategy by Mikrotik to offload a lot of feature requests to users. For example, the built-in DNS feature of Mikrotik has a lot of complains of being unstable and unresponsive. As evident in the forum we can see many power users have already posted nextDNS as alternative via docket container. I personally need mDNS feature for my home lab router for accessing chromecast and other smart devices on another VLAN without the need to put them on the same VLAN. It is one of the most requested features on the forum. So now I will soon test Avahi implementation on docket for mDNS. Now with docker, I personally feel that it will open up a potentially large amount of vulnerabilities and maybe it is not the best thing to containerize on the router.
Zerotier too was a hot feature that was requested by many user on this post started by me. Finally it has been implemented on ARM and ARM64 based router boards as of now. Once it is rolled out on x86 too then it will have a larger user base for the feature. However, I couldn’t get any success in connecting to Zerotier network. I mean after joining the network I cannot ping any nodes on the network even though an IP address is assigned to the zerotier interface. Mikrotik and Zerotier have officially partnered so we can expect updated Zerotier package in RouterOS as it will be maintained officially.
BGP is now stable for home labs and non critical production deployments as well. I have extensively tested BGP on my RB3011 with two full IPv6 BGP feeds for 7 days. A lot has changed on the routing engine and route filters. I will soon post a detailed article on BGP and routing filters. CPU utilization while using BGP is also significantly low now compared to v6. Earlier what used to occupy 27% CPU now consumes only 5-8%. Also route filters are more of syntax based using if statements. Redistribution of routes using check boxes is no longer available.
We can hope to see RouterOS 7 stable release by the end of this year but nothing is official. However, RC3 is now significantly stable for home use. I am looking forward for AC wave 2 package for my HAP AC^2. Currently the size of the wave 2 package is 10MB as a result most SOHo wireless routers by Mikrotik are missing out on the feature due to their tiny flash size of just 16MB. Mikrotik is preferred by many mostly due to their low cost hardware and Winbox based management. Else if you are comfortable with CLI and are looking for an alternative to Mikrotik CHR do check out VyOS. Here is the link to one of my posts on why VyOS is a viable alternative to Mikrotik Router OS?