Mikrotik RouterBoard and Ubiquiti Networks Routing and Switching Solutions

Rubens Kuhl rubensk at gmail.com
Tue Aug 12 00:48:57 UTC 2014

On Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 9:22 PM, Colton Conor <colton.conor at gmail.com>

> I am interested to hear opinions on Mikrotik and Ubiquiti Networks routing
> and switching products. I know both hardware providers are widely deployed
> in WISP networks, but I am less interested in their wireless solutions and
> more in their wired products.
> I know most of their switches and routers are software based, but that
> might not necessarily be a bad thing since everyone is going to SDN
> anyways. Their products are 1/10th or less of the cost of
> the equivalent Cisco/Juniper products.

Ubiquiti routers use Cavium chips so they are not 100% software solutions,
having a bit of programmable hardware support.
Although most Mikrotik products are 100% software-based, their flagship
router nowadays, CCR, also has similar hardware acceleration from Tilera.

> How stable and feature rich are both of their platforms? How do both of
> their command line interfaces compare to Cisco or Juniper? Is it easy to
> train a Cisco tech how to use a Mikrotik or Ubiquiti Networks product?

Mikrotik RouterOS is very unstable, notably on dynamic routing scenarios.
Wireless and BRAS-type solutions under RouterOS work fine, but routing has
been a challenge since they moved from Quagga to XORP due to licensing
issues; Mikrotik uses a lot of open source but published very little code,
drawing extensive criticism from the open-source community. Although it's
unknown to me if they are still using XORP, whatever they use still has

Mikrotik CLI resembles Cisco a bit, Ubiquiti resembles Juniper a lot. It's
easier to train a Cisco tech to use Mikrotik than to use Ubiquiti, but me
and most networking people I know starts liking the Juniper/Ubiquiti/Vyatta
style as soon as they discover "commit rollback" and similar features.

> *Ubiquiti Networks software is based on a version of Vyatta I believe. As
> many of you know Vyatta was bought by Brocade. I have heard that Vyatta is
> very Juniper OS like.

VyOS is the Vyatta fork that was used to create EdgeOS, the Ubiquiti
version of it. VyOS + GUI + Hardware-offload + a feature or two = EdgeOS.
The VyOS fork occurred due to Brocade new ideas for the product, and VyOS
on x86 hardware is also an alternative for cheap and reliable replacement
of Juniper/Cisco gear.

Ubiquiti seized this opportunity and hired two, or something near,
developers from Vyatta that also have not liked Brocade guidance of the

> *Ubiquiti just release a line of switches that have
> an amazing price and seem to support wire speed switching.

I've only used their routers so I can't comment on their switches... their
feature set looks good, but that's all I can say.

> Their EdgeRouter
> is supposedly faster than Mikrotiks solutions.

Mikrotik argues that CCR is faster... they use a 72-core architecture that
is actually a "marketecture" since packets usually use only the cores that
belong to the port they entered, making the uplink ports their bottleneck.

> Mikrotik also seems to make routers and switches. I am not sure what their
> software is based on,

Linux kernel with some open source and some not open source additions.

> but it does support advanced features such as MPLS.
> Not sure about their switches, but they seem to be dirt cheap!

Mikrotik switches are just home-gateway class, stay away from any serious

> What is
> their command line interface like? I couldn't find any financial
> information on this company, but they seem to be located in Latvia?

They started with ISP wireless software for at the time commodity radios
and moved to making their own gear. Their products have good market
penetration in Eastern Europe and in Brazil, where their price points
enabled lots of small operators to build wireless networks.

Does anyone have any meaningful insight to both companies? Why haven't they
> made a dent in the switching and router market with their amazing price
> points? Am I missing something here?

Mikrotik people is incredibly bad at relating to other people; they always
try to prove that customers that point  failures are stupid and
they(Mikrotik) are right. Most buyers prefer to have someone that will
commit to solve problems instead of denying them. Their support forum is
public and you will find many examples of this behaviour there.


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