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Let’s talk MPLS-VPLS, part 1 – use cases

Hey guys, today we’ll be taking a look at what are the main reasons that MPLS – and in particular VPLS – is a useful technology tool to get traffic from point A to point Z. There’s really 2 major use cases that I deal with regularly: IPv4 conservation and L2VPN.

Why am I talking about VPLS specifically? Well, mostly because many times I end up working with Mikrotik routers, which only support VPLS. What is VPLS? It stands for Virtual Private Line Service, and it’s a way to deliver layer 2 services over a layer 3 network. Said another way, it connects a single broadcast domain to multiple endpoints across a routed network. I’ll discuss why MPLS is better for you and your network than switching/bridging in part 2 of this series – for now just know that MPLS/VPLS will allow you to offer enhanced services without the risks of extending layer 2 (I’ll talk more about that below, and why that’s bad in part 2, also).


Use case 1: IPv4 Conservation

OK, so let’s visualize the problem with IP conservation on a small /24 allocation.

Subnetted /24 network

If you’re like most other service providers, you have a Continue reading

MikroTik RouterOS – v7.0.3 stable (chateau) and status of general release

If you don’t already use it, the MIkroTik v7 BETA forum (forum.mikrotik.com) is a fantastic source of information


When will stable be released?

This is the million dollar question. Technically, it already has been for one hardware platform…

!! Spoiler Alert – There is *already* a stable release of ROSv7 – v7.0.3!!

The Chateau 5G router originally shipped with a beta version of ROSv7 but was quietly moved to a stable version that’s developed specifically for that platform.

https://forum.mikrotik.com/viewtopic.php?t=175201#p865329

Because of the way MikroTik’s code repo works, this version can’t easily be added to the main download page and support provides the software:

ROSv7.0.3 Stable Download (!!! Chateau Only – will brick other hardware !!!)

https://box.mikrotik.com/f/7e3cad5779804d0b878d/?dl=1

It’s worth repeating MikroTik’s warning about using this on any platform other than the Chateau

v7 launch date – MikroTikhttps://forum.mikrotik.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=175201#p865452


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What’s holding up v7 from being released?

If you’ve been around MikroTik for a while, then you know that version 7 has been in the works for a long time to add new functionality and address limitations of the older Linux kernel in ROSv6.

MikroTik recently Continue reading

MikroTik – RouterOSv7 first look – MLAG on CRS 3xx switches

What is MLAG?

Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation Group or MLAG is an idea that’s been around for a while.

It allows for the ability to form LACP channels across multiple physical switches.

Wikipedia shows a few different topology examples here


Vendor implementations are proprietary but the idea of MLAG was first mentioned in 802.1AX-2008 in 2008.

It first started to become popular in data center networking in the late 2000s

What makes the addition of MLAG to MikroTik’s RouterOS feature set notable is that it lowers the barrier to entry for this particular feature.

CRS 3xx switches are very inexpensive (starting at $149 USD) and may very well be the lowest cost MLAG capable hardware available on the market.

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Introduced in 7.1beta6

MLAG has been asked for by the MikroTik community a number of times and the most active feature request thread started here in 2020:

new feature request MLAG!!! – MikroTik

MikroTik added several version 7 beta releases in 2021 and included MLAG for all CRS 3xx series switches in 7.1beta6 on May 18th, 2021.

Overview of protocol requirements

MLAG is fairly consistent across vendors with the need Continue reading

Juniper to Mikrotik – MPLS Commands

About the Juniper to MikroTik series

In the world of network engineering, learning a new syntax for a NOS can be daunting if you need a specific config quickly.  Juniper is a popular option for service providers/data centers and is widely deployed across the world. 

This is a continuation of the Rosetta stone for network operating systems series.  In this article we will be covering multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) using label distribution protocol (LDP). We are sticking with LDP as MikroTik does not have wide support for RSVP-TE.

You can find the first two articles of the series here:

Juniper to MikroTik – BGP commands

Juniper to MikroTik – OSPF commands

While many commands have almost the exact same information, others are as close as possible.  Since there isn’t always an exact match, sometimes you may have to run two or three commands to get the information needed. 

Using EVE-NG for testing

We conducted utilized EVE-NG for all of the testing with the topology seen below.

Juniper CommandMikroTik Command
show ldp neighbormpls ldp neighbor print
show ldp interfacempls ldp interface print
show route forwarding-table family mplsmpls forwarding-table print
show ldp databasempls Continue reading

Juniper To MikroTik – OSPF Commands

About the Juniper to MikroTik Series

In the world of network engineering, learning a new syntax for a NOS can be daunting if you need a specific config quickly.  Juniper is a popular option for service providers/data centers and is widely deployed across the world. 

This is a continuation of the Rosetta stone for network operating systems series.  In this portion of the series we will be covering Open Shortest Path First, OSPF, version 2 which is a popular interior gateway protocol (IGP).

You can find the first article of the series Juniper to Mikrotik – BGP Commands here.

While many commands have almost the exact same information, others are as close as possible.  Since there isn’t always an exact match, sometimes you may have to run two or three commands to get the information needed. 

Using EVE-NG for testing

We conducted all testing on EVE-NG utilizing the topology seen below.

JunOS CommandMikroTik Command
show ospf neighborrouting ospf neighbor print
show ospf interfacerouting ospf interface print
show ospf overview briefrouting ospf instance print detail
show ospf databaserouting ospf lsa print
show route protocol ospfip route print where ospf=yes
show Continue reading

Juniper to MikroTik – BGP commands

About the Juniper to MikroTik series

In the world of network engineering, learning a new syntax for a NOS can be daunting if you need a specific config quickly.  Juniper is a popular option for service providers/data centers and is widely deployed across the world. 

This is a continuation of the Rosetta stone for network operating systems series.  We’ll be working through several protocols over series of posts to help you quickly move between different environments. 

While many commands have almost the exact same information, others are as close as possible.  Since there isn’t always an exact match, sometimes you may have to run two or three commands to get the information needed. 

Using EVE-NG for testing

We conducted all of this testing utilizing EVE-NG and the topology seen below. 

Juniper CommandMikroTik Command
show bgp summaryrouting bgp peer print brief
show bgp neighborrouting bgp peer print status
show route advertising-protocol bgp 172.31.254.2routing bgp advertisements print peer=peer_name
show route receive-protocol bgp 172.31.254.2ip route print where received-from=peer_name
show route protocol bgpip route print where bgp=yes
clear bgp neighbor 172.31.254.2 soft-inbound Continue reading

MikroTik – RouterOSv7 first look – Dynamic routing with IPv6 and OSPFv3/BGP

If you missed it, take a look at MikroTik’s video on RouterOS v7 routing performance and changes.



Overview

One of the long awaited benefits of RouterOS version 7 is a new routing protocol stack that enables new capabilities and fixes limitations in RouterOSv6 caused by the use of a very old Linux kernel.

The new routing stack in v7 has created quite a buzz in the MikroTik community as lab tests have shown that it’s significantly more efficient in processing large numbers of BGP routes.

The ability to use MikroTik’s new generation of CCR routers with ARM64 to quickly process BGP routes is a blog post all to itself and we’ll tackle that in the future – however, the information below provides a quick look into the performance comparison between ROS v6 and v7.

The new routing stack also paves the way to add a number of features that have been needed for a long time like RPKI and large community support.

Using a lab based on EVE-NG, we’ll take a look at configuration changes and iBGP using the IPv6 AFI with OSPFv3 as the IGP for loopback/next hop reachability. Prior to 7.1beta2, this has been nonfunctional for years Continue reading

MikroTik – RouterOSv7 first look – L3 ASIC performance testing

When MikroTik announced the CRS3xx series switches a few years ago, one of the most exciting aspects of that news release was the prospect of L3 forwarding in hardware on very inexpensive devices.

A quick review of the Marvell Prestera ASIC family showed a number of advanced routing, switching, MPLS and VxLAN capabilites.

Fast forward to 2020, where MikroTik has started to enable some of those features in RouterOS v7 beta.

Now we can finally take some of the CRS3xx switches and test their capabilities with L3 forwarding performance in hardware


CRS 3xx series capabilities overview

Before getting into the testing, it’s probably helpful to review some of the basic specs and capabilities of the CRS3xx switch line.

Here is a chart from MikroTik that outlines ACL rule count, Unicast FDB entries and MTU size.

CRS 3xx model comparison

MIkroTik has been working on the development of the features listed below to offload into hardware.

For the tests in this article, we’ll be using IPv4 Unicast and Inter-VLAN routing.

Supported feature list

Currently, the following switches are supported.

For the testing in this article, we are using the CRS317-1G-16S+

Switches supported by 7.1beta2



Performance testing – overview

The physical Continue reading

Conference Preview: WISP Virtual Summit 2020

photo credit: Jeff Little

It seems like ages ago that we blocked out time in our schedules to fly to technical conferences and immerse ourselves with great people and content for an entire week.

In reality, it’s only been a few months but 2020 has made it seem like a lifetime.

However, those of us in tech are quick to adapt and virtual conferences are now a thing.

For the fixed wireless industry, in-person conferences are critical because most of the attendees are entrepreneurs.

For a small business owner in tech, going to a show is one of the best ways to evaluate content and business opportunities needed to stay competitive in a short amount of time.

The first virtual conference for Wireless ISPs

Thankfully, due to some amazing effort and collaboration in the WISP industry led by Preseem and supported by WISPA, we are about to kick off the first virtual conference for the fixed wireless industry on July 28th, 2020.

An enormous amount of work has gone into planning and preparation to replicate the experience of an in-person technical conference as much as possible.

First thing’s first….get registered

Kick off the registration process by visiting: https://wispvirtualsummit2020. Continue reading

Remote workers – rapid and cost-effective VPN scale with ZeroTier, OPNSense and FRRouting.

Overview

This would probably be a relevant topic on any given day in the world of IT, but given the current global pandemic due to COVID-19 (aka coronavirus), it’s become especially important.

IT departments are scrambling to figure out how to react with capacity to connect entire companies remotely for extended periods of time.

With a traditional vendor solution that centers around a router or firewall that’s racked in a data center somewhere, this can be difficult to solve for a few reasons.

Challenges:

  • Hardware capacity – most firewalls or routers have a fixed capacity for VPN sessions that must be deployed into a cluster to scale.
  • Software licensing – taking a company of thousands and suddenly extending licensing to account for the entire company is a financial hurdle for most companies.
  • Time to deploy – assuming both hardware and software licensing challenges can be dealt with in a timely manner, it may take weeks or months to deploy the additional capacity.

Luckily, IT is much more focused on software and cloud solutions these days then putting out boxes for everything.

Open source and cloud solutions when used together can provide an incredible amount of scale and performance without a Continue reading

Starting a WISP: guide to selecting a routing architecture

Understanding the choices – why is routing design so important?

Routing is the foundation of every IP network. Even a router as small as the one in your home has a routing table and makes routing decisions.

Selecting a routing architecture is a critical but often overlooked step to ensure that a startup WISP can provide the necessary performance, scalability and resiliency to its subscribers.

This post will go through each the major design types and highlight pros/cons and when it is appropriate to use a particular routing architecture.

A note on IPv6

Dual stack is assumed in all of the designs presented. The cost of IPv4 public will continue to climb.

It’s no longer a scalable option in 2020 to build an ISP network without at least a plan for IPv6 and ideally a production implementation.

1. Flat network (aka bridged network)

“Behind the L3 boundary, there be L2 dragons”

-ancient network proverb

Unfortunately, this is often the worst choice for all but the smallest WISPs that don’t have any plans to scale beyond 1 to 100 subscribers.

Bridged networks with one or more subnets in the same L2 broadcast domain are the most commonly deployed routing design that Continue reading

MikroTik – RouterOSv7 first look – VxLAN

VxLAN support added in 7.0beta5

MikroTik announced VxLAN support on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th) of 2020.

This is a significant feature addition for RouterOSv7 as it will pave the way for a number of other additions like EVPN in BGP.

It will also give MikroTik the ability to appeal to enterprises and data centers that might need cost-effective VxLAN capable devices.

Service Providers are also moving towards VxLAN as a future replacement for VPLS so this is helpful for that market as well.

Download the OVA here:
https://download.mikrotik.com/routeros/7.0beta5/chr-7.0beta5.ova

Implementation

The initial release of VxLAN is based on unicast and multicast to deliver Layer 2 frames.

As there is no EVPN support, the VTEPs must be manually configured for each endpoint in a full mesh configuration.

The VxLAN interface can then be bridged to a physical ethernet port or VLAN interface to deliver the traffic to the end host.

Lab Example

Here is an overview lab in EVE-NG with a basic setup using 3 linux servers on the same 10.1.1.0/24 subnet which is carried as an overlay by VxLAN.

VxLAN reachability for VTEPs is acheived with OSPFv2 and loopback addresses.

VNI: 100
Continue reading

Juniper to MikroTik – MPLS and VPNv4 interop



Juniper to MikroTik – a new series

Previously, I’ve written a number of articles that compared syntax between Cisco and MikroTik and have received some great feedback on them.

As such, I decided to begin a series on Juniper to MikroTik starting with MPLS and L3VPN interop as it related to a project I was working on last year.

In the world of network engineering, learning a new syntax for a NOS can be overwhelming if you need a specific set of config in a short timeframe. The command structure for RouterOS can be a bit challenging if you are used to Juniper CLI commands.

If you’ve worked with Juniper gear and are comfortable with how to deploy that vendor, it is helpful to draw comparisons between the commands, especially if you are trying to build a network with a MikroTik and Juniper router.

Lab Overview

The lab consists of (3) Juniper P routers and (2) MikroTik PE routers. Although we did not get into L3VPN in this particular lab, the layout is the same.

A note on route-targets

It seems that the format of the route-target has some bearing on this being successful. Normally i’ll use a format like Continue reading

WISP Design – Migrating from Bridged to Routed

TFW adding the 301st subscriber to your bridged WISP….

 

 

Why are bridged networks so popular?

  • Getting an ISP network started can be a daunting task. Especially, if you don’t have a networking background.
  • Understanding L1/L2/L3 is not easy – I spent a number of years working in IT before I really started to grasp concepts like subnetting, the OSI model and Layer 2 vs. Layer 3. It takes a while.
  • Bridged networks are very attractive when first starting out. No subnetting is required and the entire network can be NATted out an upstream router with minimal configuration.

 

What does a “bridged” network look like?

  • Bridged networks use a single Layer 3 subnet across the same Layer 2 broadcast domain (typically over switches and software/hardware bridges) which is extended to all towers in the WISP
  • Bridging can be done with or without VLANs but they are most commonly untagged.
  • The diagram below is a very common example of a bridged WISP network.

 

What is the difference between switching and bridging?

These days, there isn’t much difference between the two terms, switch is a marketing term for a multiport hardware-accelerated bridge that became popular in the 1990s to Continue reading

WISP Design – Migrating from Bridged to Routed

TFW adding the 301st subscriber to your bridged WISP….

 

 

Why are bridged networks so popular?

  • Getting an ISP network started can be a daunting task. Especially, if you don’t have a networking background.
  • Understanding L1/L2/L3 is not easy – I spent a number of years working in IT before I really started to grasp concepts like subnetting, the OSI model and Layer 2 vs. Layer 3. It takes a while.
  • Bridged networks are very attractive when first starting out. No subnetting is required and the entire network can be NATted out an upstream router with minimal configuration.

 

What does a “bridged” network look like?

  • Bridged networks use a single Layer 3 subnet across the same Layer 2 broadcast domain (typically over switches and software/hardware bridges) which is extended to all towers in the WISP
  • Bridging can be done with or without VLANs but they are most commonly untagged.
  • The diagram below is a very common example of a bridged WISP network.

 

What is the difference between switching and bridging?

These days, there isn’t much difference between the two terms, switch is a marketing term for a multiport hardware-accelerated bridge that became popular in the 1990s to Continue reading

Cisco to MikroTik – Switching and VLANs

 

 

About the Cisco to MikroTik series

 

One of the most difficult configuration challenges for MikroTik equipment seems to be switching and VLANs in the CRS series. Admittedly, the revamp of VLAN configuration for MikroTik CRS switches in early 2018 made things a lot easier. But, sometimes there is still confusion on how to configure VLANs and IP addresses in VLANs with MikroTik RouterOS operating on a switch.

This will only cover VLAN configuration for CRS 3xx series switches in RouterOS as SwitchOS is not nearly as common in operational deployments.

CRS 1xx/2xx series use an older style of configuration and seem to be on the way out so I’m not 100% sure whether or not i’ll write a similar guide on that series.

If you’ve been in networking for a while, you probably started with learning the Cisco CLI. Therefore, it is helpful to compare the commands if you want to implement a network with a MikroTik and Cisco switches.

This is the fourth post in a series that creates a Rosetta stone between IOS and RouterOS. Here are some of the others:

Click here for the first article in this series – “Cisco to MikroTik BGP command translation”
Click  Continue reading

Cisco to MikroTik – Switching and VLANs

 

 

About the Cisco to MikroTik series

 

One of the most difficult configuration challenges for MikroTik equipment seems to be switching and VLANs in the CRS series. Admittedly, the revamp of VLAN configuration for MikroTik CRS switches in early 2018 made things a lot easier. But, sometimes there is still confusion on how to configure VLANs and IP addresses in VLANs with MikroTik RouterOS operating on a switch.

This will only cover VLAN configuration for CRS 3xx series switches in RouterOS as SwitchOS is not nearly as common in operational deployments.

CRS 1xx/2xx series use an older style of configuration and seem to be on the way out so I’m not 100% sure whether or not i’ll write a similar guide on that series.

If you’ve been in networking for a while, you probably started with learning the Cisco CLI. Therefore, it is helpful to compare the commands if you want to implement a network with a MikroTik and Cisco switches.

This is the fourth post in a series that creates a Rosetta stone between IOS and RouterOS. Here are some of the others:

Click here for the first article in this series – “Cisco to MikroTik BGP command translation”
Click  Continue reading

WISP Design – An overview of adding IPv6 to your WISP

The challenge of adding IPv6 to your WISP

IPv6 is one of those technologies that can feel pretty overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Many of the same ideas and concepts learned in IPv4 networking still apply.

This guide is meant to give you an overview of an example IPv6 addressing plan for an entire WISP as well as the config needed in MikroTik to deploy IPv6 from a core router all the way to a subscriber device.

 

Benefits of adding IPv6

  • Public addressing for all subscribers – reduced need for NAT
  • Regulatory compliance – public addressing that is persistent makes it much easier to be compliant for things like CALEA
  • Reduced complaints from gamers – Xbox and Playstation both have IPv6 networks and prefer IPv6. This reduces complaints from customers who have gaming consoles that have detected an “improper” NAT configuration.
  • Increased security – IPv6, while not impervious to security threats makes it much harder for attackers to scan IPs due to the sheer size of the IP space. If using privacy extensions with SLAAC, it also makes it much harder to target someone online as the IP address seen on the internet changes randomly.
  • Improved real Continue reading

WISP Design – An overview of adding IPv6 to your WISP

The challenge of adding IPv6 to your WISP

IPv6 is one of those technologies that can feel pretty overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Many of the same ideas and concepts learned in IPv4 networking still apply.

This guide is meant to give you an overview of an example IPv6 addressing plan for an entire WISP as well as the config needed in MikroTik to deploy IPv6 from a core router all the way to a subscriber device.

 

Benefits of adding IPv6

  • Public addressing for all subscribers – reduced need for NAT
  • Regulatory compliance – public addressing that is persistent makes it much easier to be compliant for things like CALEA
  • Reduced complaints from gamers – Xbox and Playstation both have IPv6 networks and prefer IPv6. This reduces complaints from customers who have gaming consoles that have detected an “improper” NAT configuration.
  • Increased security – IPv6, while not impervious to security threats makes it much harder for attackers to scan IPs due to the sheer size of the IP space. If using privacy extensions with SLAAC, it also makes it much harder to target someone online as the IP address seen on the internet changes randomly.
  • Improved real Continue reading
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