Having had some time to relax and reflect on the 2014 Mikrotik MUM held in Pittsburgh, PA, the following were my personal highlights…
1) Soft promise release of the new RB850Gx2 by end of this month (Sep. 2014)
I want to get my hands on this board. With dual core PPC architecture, we can move encryption off to hardware. It also sports 512MBs RAM and is available in the same, familiar RB450G form factor. At roughly double the power of the 450G and half the the power of the venerable RB1100AHx2, I believe this will become my new “go to” Routerboard for most projects.
*Edit, this promise came and went. I’m editing here 10/5/14 and, while the devices have now shipped to distributors, they aren’t available here in the States yet.
2) 802.11AC is here (and it’s damn good)
Mikrotik was putting a fair amount of emphasis on their new .11AC offerings and we got to see some in action. Let me tell you, it looked good. Using the bandwidth test tool, they were pushing UDP packets 460-470Mbps using the internal CPU to generate the traffic. That’s crazy good throughput. I’m looking forward to picking up some SXTs or similar to play with in my own lab.
3) Greg Sowell gave a brief, casual talk on AnyCast that was pretty good.
It simplified the idea for me (thinking in terms of CDNs, etc) that made sense. While I have no use for it in my current role, it got me thinking about how regional content delivery works.
4) OpenFlow (on Mikrotik hardware specifically)
I don’t recall the fella’s name who gave this tak but, damn, it was good. I doubt we’re that many years away from OpenFlow and SDN becoming more popular (one day the norm?) and this was an excellent introduction.
Steve Dischler released www.MikrotikConfig.com to generate address lists, firewall rules and QoS (Queue Trees). It’s a cool, free tool that allows you to enter simple parameters and outputs scripts that can be imported into your local ROS deployments.
*Edit, I have been using this tool to create address lists for a couple of weeks and really dig it.
6) CAPsMAN (Controlled Access Point system Manager)
Uldis from Mikrotik gave us a rundown on CAPsMAN running on ROS/Routerboards. That’s right, using your Routerboard install as your WLAN provisioning and management tool. No need for an additional piece of gear (ZoneDirector, WLC or UniFi controller). It works with all Mikrotik APs (running latest version of 6 series software and the new wireless-fp package). It works via layer 2 or 3 (MAC and UDP) allowing for your WLAN to be managed by an offsite device (I’m thinking of setting up an x86 box for testing this). One thing I will be pushing through support is a request to set allowable 2.4GHz channels when a CAP (Contolled Access Point) is set to “auto” channel mode. As it is now, the AP is going to select the least congested channel and I, like many others, insist on using ONLY channels 1, 6 and 11.
Ummm…wow, these cats are offering both custom Routerboard enclosures (including custom colors and branding) with integrated UPS and dual power supplies and all with a choice of different boards. They are absolutely beautiful with really cool rack mount ears that allow you to set the depth of the router in the rack. They also provide a hosted management solution that looks interesting for those selling managed services.
8) Meeting new people from different industries and locations
Last but, not least, I really enjoyed meeting people from so many different parts of the world and so many different industries. There were attendees from Ghana, Nigeria, Slovakia, Brazil, Latvia, Iraq, Mexico and, of course, all over the United States. I was also introduced to people working in so many different industries and so many diferent disciplines, all using RouterOS and Routerboard products. I was truly inspired by the experience and look forward to pushing myself to learn more and providing ever better installs for my clients.