Not long ago, I lamented on this very site that the current crop of home-grade routers you can buy at your local techno-junk store aren’t suitable to wipe your ass with. I also made a comment on the “free” router firmware replacement, DD-WRT and it’s utter lack of regression testing.
Sometime last year I participated in a Google+ conversation about how fucking awful Linkshit/Shitco routers are. I am still getting illiterate, half-wit responses from retards telling me how “wrong” I am. Like fuck I am.
So I followed some helpful advice my ISP guy gave me, echoed by another helpful user on this forum as well. I had heard of MikroTik routers before…don’t ask me where they are from, somewhere in the Eastern Block I think. But the bottom line is, they are a small company and they make serious routers…serious as in “made to work at all times.”
Fortunately, in addition to the big models, they have a low-end commercial model that you can actually pick up on Amazon. So, I did. After 3 days a very unassuming brown box simply labelled “MikroTik” arrived. And inside it was a very small white box…nothing fancy, not like the stupid “artsy” designed routers you can get from D-Shit and Shitco…just a small white box with a few blinking lights on it. And no manual whatsoever…no, the manual is online…but they don’t even bother to tell you that.
Ok for the crybabies out there, this base model you can just plug in and it will “just work.” It’s set up to grab a WAN IP via DHCP and serve all your shit using DHCP. There’s even a quick-start web page where you can specify the basics that will have this little box up and running in seconds. Yes, the firewall is enabled and ready to go. So if you just want to get up and going, it’s ready.
But…here’s the fun part. If you want to actually configure this little box well…it’s like UNIX. It doesn’t assume you’re an idiot, it assumes you know something about networking. And that’s good, because networking is not rocket science.
The online manual is very helpful. And this router is really REALLY fucking flexible. I mean holy shit. Yes it’s meant to be consumer grade but it has the full RouterOS their higher end models have. You can literally do ANYTHING with this router. Traffic shaping, quality of service, you fucking name it.
So I needed to do something fairly trivial…set up a few rules to restrict network access past 11pm. This router is so configurable that you can do this in a NUMBER of ways…you could set up firewall rules to do it. Or if you don’t want to fuck with firewalls you can set up a traffic queue to do it and wind the limit down to 1k so nothing gets through. Or you can script shit using it’s built-in scripting agent. Or… the point being, you aren’t limited. This is a serious fucking device.
It hooks into just about everything as well…SNMP, sFlow, you name it. You can get all kinds of traffic stats from it. And it’s got a lot of tools built in as well for diagnosis…fuck, you can even ping flood something on your lan if you desired.
So how’s it perform? I can honestly say…I’ve never had a router with this much range. I can stand out at the back of the Chicken Farm fence outside with my tablet and still get two bars. There isn’t a corner in the house where we don’t have coverage now. And that’s just with the stock built-in antenna…there’s a connector on the side for an external one if you really want to broadcast to Mars and back.
The thing is rock solid. It doesn’t drop connections. Wireless is stable as fuck, which is more than I can say for any off-the-shelf router you can pick up at the store.
But like I said, the only downside is that if you want to configure this baby, you need to do your homework. You need to know a bit about networking, and you need to read the fucking manual. You configure this router in a number of ways…you can do it from a telnet command-line, or you can do it over the web, or you can fire up a Windoze app that does pretty much what the web interface does. The sky’s the limit.
So I give this MikroTik router FIVE ERECT COCKS UP. If you’re sick and tired of the crashing, connection-dropping balls-less SHIT that Shitco/LinkShit and D-Shit keep crapping out onto the store shelves, this is the one for you. It’s not a toy router. This thing gets real work done and it keeps the packets moving. And the price? Only $79 bucks.
Tell us what you think in the comments below.