This blog isn’t about reviewing products, unless they happen to become part of my life at work or home. In the case of Mikrotik’s RB750GL it was more about exploring possibilities. More below the fold.
At first blush the specs for the $60 750GL with a 400 MHz MIPS CPU aren’t very impressive, at least compared to solutions like my home built $200 pfSense box based on a PCEngines 1GHz APU. I’m doubtful the 750GL could actually hold up as my gateway to a gigabit Internet connection, but since that’s not yet available here it won’t be put to the test for awhile. My main interest in exploring this product, beyond mere curiosity, is to see if it might be an option for future deployments in the homes of family or friends, and as a cold backup for the pfSense box.
On the other hand, it’s only $60, and while I think the closed source nature of Mikrotik’s RouterOS puts it at a competitive disadvantage, this device has a lot of features never seen in its price class. It only took a couple of careful hours to configure to swap in the 750GL for my pfSense router. Everything seemed to work very well, with the glaring exception of DHCP static leases.
Not to say there isn’t a steep learning curve for those new to RouterOS. The web interface is a bit quirky with 90’s style graphic elements and some configuration workflow dead-ends that drive you to jump out onto a console and use the command-line interface.
The documentation for RouterOS is disjointed and contains far too few examples. But then that’s also true of pfSense and most other network device operating systems. Cisco’s IOS, probably the most invested in device O/S in history, is probably only bearable because of the vast body of 3rd party instructional materials that has grown up around it. I’m still navigating my way around the few RouterOS oriented sites out there and will be ordering at least one real book to ramp up my understanding of it.