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How to Install MikroTik OS ISO on a PC or Virtual Machine - TechWiser


Download MikroTik OS ISO Free: A Complete Guide




If you are looking for a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective operating system for your router, you might want to consider MikroTik RouterOS. In this article, we will show you how to download MikroTik OS ISO for free, how to install it on a PC or a virtual machine, and how to configure it after installation. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using MikroTik OS ISO, and answer some frequently asked questions.




download mikrotik os iso free



What is MikroTik RouterOS and what are its features?




MikroTik RouterOS is a Linux-based operating system that runs on RouterBOARD devices, as well as on PCs and virtual machines. It turns your device into a network router, with all the necessary features such as routing, firewall, bandwidth management, wireless access point, backhaul link, hotspot gateway, VPN server, and more. You can compare the different license level features on this page in the manual.


MikroTik RouterOS packs in a large feature set, including:



  • Configuration: You can configure your router using various methods such as Winbox (a standalone Windows GUI tool), WebFig (an advanced web-based interface), SSH, Telnet, API (for creating your own applications), and The Dude (a network monitoring tool).



  • Firewall: You can apply stateful filtering, source and destination NAT, NAT helpers, internal connection, routing and packet marks, address lists, custom Layer7 matcher, IPv6 support, PCC (per connection classifier), and RAW filtering.



  • Routing: You can use static routing, virtual routing and forwarding (VRF), policy based routing, interface routing, ECMP routing, IPv4 and IPv6 dynamic routing protocols (RIP v1/v2, OSPFv2/v3, BGP v4), bidirectional forwarding detection (BFD), MPLS static label bindings, label distribution protocol (LDP), RSVP traffic engineering tunnels, VPLS MP-BGP - and LDP based VPLS.



  • Wireless: You can use 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless protocols, Nstreme and Nv2 proprietary protocols, wireless distribution system (WDS), virtual access point, station, station WDS, station bridge modes, wireless security and encryption (WEP, WPA, WPA2, AES-CCM, TKIP), EAP authentication (EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, EAP-MSCHAPv2, EAP-AKA, EAP-SIM), MAC filtering, MME wireless routing protocol, and CAPsMAN (controlled access point system manager).



  • VPN: You can use secure VPN services such as IPsec (site to site and client to site), OpenVPN (SSL/TLS and TCP/UDP based), PPTP (MPPE encryption), L2TP (IPsec encryption), SSTP (SSL/TLS encryption), OVPN (MikroTik proprietary protocol), and IPIP, EoIP (MikroTik proprietary protocols).



  • Hotspot: You can create a hotspot network with user authentication, accounting, and billing. You can use local user database or external RADIUS server, customizable login page and walled garden, HTTP proxy support, data rate limitation and dynamic bandwidth allocation.



  • Bandwidth management: You can control the traffic flow using queue trees and simple queues. You can apply priority queuing (PCQ), burst support, equalized bandwidth distribution among users, hierarchical token bucket (HTB) algorithm, packet flow classifier based on firewall marks.



  • Other features: You can also use MikroTik RouterOS for DNS server and client, DHCP server and client, NTP server and client, UPnP support, proxy server (regular or transparent), SMB support (file sharing and printing), email tool (sending emails from router), fetch tool (downloading files from internet), logging system (local or remote), SNMP support (v1,v2,v3), M3P packet sniffer and analyzer, ping, traceroute, bandwidth test tools.



As you can see, MikroTik RouterOS offers a lot of functionality for a relatively low price. You can purchase a license for as low as $45, or you can download MikroTik OS ISO for free and try it out before buying.


Why would someone want to download MikroTik OS ISO for free?




There are several reasons why someone might want to download MikroTik OS ISO for free. Some of them are:



  • To test the features and performance of MikroTik RouterOS before buying a license or a RouterBOARD device.



  • To install MikroTik RouterOS on an old PC or a virtual machine that is not supported by the netinstall method.



  • To create a custom installation of MikroTik RouterOS with extra packages or scripts that are not included in the default installation.



  • To use MikroTik RouterOS as a learning tool for networking concepts and skills.



  • To experiment with different configurations and scenarios of MikroTik RouterOS without affecting the production environment.



However, there are also some drawbacks of using MikroTik OS ISO for free. Some of them are:



  • You will not be able to upgrade your RouterOS version beyond 6.48.4, which is the latest version available for free download as of June 2023. This means you will miss out on new features, bug fixes, and security updates that are released in later versions.



  • You will not be able to use some advanced features that require higher license levels such as unlimited EoIP tunnels, unlimited PPPoE tunnels, unlimited VLAN interfaces, unlimited hotspot active users.



  • You will not be able to get official support from MikroTik or its partners if you encounter any problems or issues with your router. You will have to rely on online forums or community resources for help.



  • You will not be able to use some third-party applications or integrations that require a valid license key or registration code to work with MikroTik RouterOS.



Therefore, you should weigh the pros and cons of using MikroTik OS ISO for free before deciding whether it is suitable for your needs or not.


How to download MikroTik OS ISO for free




If you have decided to download MikroTik OS ISO for free, you will need to follow these steps:


Step 1: Visit the official MikroTik website and choose the type of system you have




The first step is to visit the official MikroTik website at https://mikrotik.com/download and choose the type of system you have. You can download MikroTik OS ISO for free for x86 (32-bit) or x86_64 (64-bit) systems, as well as for ARM, MIPSBE, MIPSLE, MMIPS, PPC, SMIPS, and TILE architectures. You can also download the netinstall zip file, which is a tool that allows you to install MikroTik RouterOS on supported devices over Ethernet.


Step 2: Download the routeros and extra packages that are compatible with your device




The next step is to download the routeros and extra packages that are compatible with your device. The routeros package contains the core RouterOS files and features, while the extra packages contain additional functionality such as wireless, hotspot, routing protocols, etc. You can choose which packages you want to install on your router according to your needs. You can also download the all_packages zip file, which contains all the available packages for your system.


To download the routeros and extra packages, you need to click on the link that corresponds to your system type and version. For example, if you have a x86_64 system and you want to download the latest version (6.48.4), you need to click on the link that says "routeros-x86-6.48.4.npk" and "extra packages-x86-6.48.4.zip". You can also download older versions of RouterOS if you want, but they may not have all the features and security updates of the latest version.


After clicking on the link, you will be prompted to save the file to your computer. Choose a location where you can easily find it later, such as your desktop or downloads folder.


Step 3: Extract the zip file and upload the LoRa package to your router




The third step is to extract the zip file and upload the LoRa package to your router. The LoRa package is a special package that enables MikroTik RouterOS to work with LoRaWAN devices, such as gateways and sensors. LoRaWAN is a low-power wide-area network protocol that allows long-range communication between devices using radio waves. If you are not planning to use LoRaWAN devices with your router, you can skip this step.


To extract the zip file, you need to use a tool like WinZip or 7-Zip. Right-click on the zip file and choose "Extract All" or "Extract Here". You will see a folder with the same name as the zip file, containing several npk files. These are the packages that you can install on your router.


To upload the LoRa package to your router, you need to connect to your router via Winbox, WebFig, SSH, or Telnet. You can find more information on how to connect to your router here. Once connected, go to System > Packages and click on Files. Then drag and drop the LoRa package from your computer to your router's file list. Alternatively, you can use FTP or SCP to transfer the file.


Step 4: Reboot your router to install the package and check if the LoRa gateway has initialized




The final step is to reboot your router to install the package and check if the LoRa gateway has initialized. To reboot your router, go to System > Reboot and click on Yes. Wait for a few minutes until your router restarts and reconnects.


To check if the LoRa gateway has initialized, go to Interfaces > LoRa > Gateway Status. You should see a green dot next to "Initialized" if everything is working properly. You can also see other information such as frequency band, spreading factor, coding rate, etc.


Congratulations! You have successfully downloaded MikroTik OS ISO for free and installed the LoRa package on your router. How to install MikroTik OS ISO on a PC or a virtual machine




If you want to install MikroTik OS ISO on a PC or a virtual machine, you will need to follow these steps:


Step 1: Download the ISO image or the netinstall zip file from the MikroTik website




The first step is to download the ISO image or the netinstall zip file from the MikroTik website. The ISO image is a file that contains the entire operating system and can be burned to a CD or written to a USB drive. The netinstall zip file is a tool that allows you to install MikroTik RouterOS on supported devices over Ethernet.


To download the ISO image or the netinstall zip file, you need to visit the official MikroTik website at https://mikrotik.com/download and choose the type of system you have. You can download the ISO image or the netinstall zip file for x86 (32-bit) or x86_64 (64-bit) systems, as well as for ARM, MIPSBE, MIPSLE, MMIPS, PPC, SMIPS, and TILE architectures. You can also download older versions of RouterOS if you want, but they may not have all the features and security updates of the latest version.


After clicking on the link, you will be prompted to save the file to your computer. Choose a location where you can easily find it later, such as your desktop or downloads folder.


Step 2: Burn the ISO image to a CD or use a tool like Rufus to create a bootable USB drive




The next step is to burn the ISO image to a CD or use a tool like Rufus to create a bootable USB drive. This will allow you to boot your PC or virtual machine from the CD or USB drive and install MikroTik RouterOS.


To burn the ISO image to a CD, you need to use a tool like ImgBurn or CDBurnerXP. Insert a blank CD into your CD/DVD drive and launch the tool. Choose the option to write an image file to disc and select the ISO image file that you downloaded. Follow the instructions on the screen and wait until the burning process is completed.


To create a bootable USB drive, you need to use a tool like Rufus or UNetbootin. Insert a USB drive into your computer and launch the tool. Choose the option to create a bootable disk using an ISO image and select the ISO image file that you downloaded. Follow the instructions on the screen and wait until the writing process is completed.


Step 3: Connect the CD or USB drive to your PC or virtual machine and boot from it




The third step is to connect the CD or USB drive to your PC or virtual machine and boot from it. This will start the installation process of MikroTik RouterOS.


To connect the CD or USB drive to your PC, you need to insert it into your CD/DVD drive or USB port. Then restart your PC and press F12 (or another key depending on your BIOS settings) to enter the boot menu. Choose the option to boot from CD/DVD or USB and press Enter.


To connect the CD or USB drive to your virtual machine, you need to open your virtualization software (such as VirtualBox, VMware, Hyper-V, etc.) and create a new virtual machine with at least 256 MB of RAM and 128 MB of disk space. Then attach the CD or USB drive as an optical drive or a removable device in the settings of your virtual machine. Start your virtual machine and press F12 (or another key depending on your BIOS settings) to enter the boot menu. Choose the option to boot from CD/DVD or USB and press Enter.


Step 4: Follow the installation wizard and enter the license key if required




The final step is to follow the installation wizard and enter the license key if required. The installation wizard will guide you through the steps of choosing the disk partition, formatting the disk, copying the files, and rebooting the system. You can also choose to install additional packages or scripts during the installation process. If you have a valid license key, you can enter it when prompted. Otherwise, you can skip this step and use the free trial version of MikroTik RouterOS for 24 hours.


Congratulations! You have successfully installed MikroTik OS ISO on your PC or virtual machine.


How to configure MikroTik OS ISO after installation




After installing MikroTik OS ISO on your PC or virtual machine, you will need to configure it according to your needs. Here are some basic steps to follow:


Step 1: Connect to your router via Winbox, WebFig, SSH, or Telnet




The first step is to connect to your router via Winbox, WebFig, SSH, or Telnet. These are different methods of accessing your router's graphical or command-line interface. You can choose the one that suits you best.


To connect via Winbox, you need to download the Winbox tool from https://mikrotik.com/download and run it on your Windows computer. Then enter the IP address or MAC address of your router and click on Connect. You will see a window with various menus and options for configuring your router.


To connect via WebFig, you need to open a web browser and type in the IP address of your router in the address bar. You will see a web page with a login prompt. Enter the username and password of your router (the default is admin with no password) and click on Login. You will see a web-based interface with various menus and options for configuring your router.


To connect via SSH or Telnet, you need to open a terminal program (such as PuTTY or Terminal) and type in the command ssh admin@ or telnet . You will see a prompt asking for the password of your router (the default is no password). Enter the password and press Enter. You will see a command-line interface with various commands and options for configuring your router.


Step 2: Upgrade your RouterOS version to the latest available




The next step is to upgrade your RouterOS version to the latest available. This will ensure that you have the most up-to-date features, bug fixes, and security updates for your router. To upgrade your RouterOS version, you need to follow these steps:



  • Go to System > Packages and click on Check For Updates.



  • Select the channel from which you want to download the updates (long term, stable, testing, or development).



  • Click on Download & Install and wait until the process is completed.



  • Reboot your router to apply the changes.



Note: If you are using the free trial version of MikroTik RouterOS, you will not be able to upgrade beyond 6.48.4, which is the latest version available for free download as of June 2023.


Step 3: Choose a release chain from which to install new packages (long term, stable, testing, or development)




The third step is to choose a release chain from which to install new packages (long term, stable, testing, or development). A release chain is a set of packages that are updated at different intervals and have different levels of stability and compatibility. You can choose the one that suits your needs best.


To choose a release chain, you need to follow these steps:



  • Go to System > Packages and click on Settings.



  • Select the channel from which you want to install new packages (long term, stable, testing, or development).



  • Click on OK and wait until the process is completed.



  • Reboot your router to apply the changes.



Note: If you are using the free trial version of MikroTik RouterOS, you will not be able to install new packages beyond 6.48.4, which is the latest version available for free download as of June 2023.


Step 4: Configure your router according to your needs using the graphical or command-line interface




The final step is to configure your router according to your needs using the graphical or command-line interface. You can use various menus and options in Winbox or WebFig, or various commands and options in SSH or Telnet. You can find more information on how to configure your router here in the manual.


Some of the common tasks that you might want to do are:



  • Setting up your router's IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS server.



  • Setting up your router's firewall rules, NAT rules, and address lists.



  • Setting up your router's routing protocols, static routes, and policy based routing.



  • Setting up your router's wireless interface, access point mode, security settings, and station list.



  • Setting up your router's VPN services, IPsec policies, certificates, and profiles.



  • Setting up your router's hotspot network, user authentication, billing system, and walled garden.



  • Setting up your router's bandwidth management, queue trees, simple queues, and packet marks.



  • Setting up your router's DNS server and client, DHCP server and client, NTP server and client, and UPnP support.



  • Setting up your router's proxy server, SMB support, email tool, fetch tool, and logging system.



  • Setting up your router's SNMP support, M3P packet sniffer and analyzer, ping, traceroute, and bandwidth test tools.



You can also use scripts to automate some of the configuration tasks or to perform custom actions. You can find more information on how to use scripts here in the manual.


Conclusion




In this article, we have shown you how to download MikroTik OS ISO for free, how to install it on a PC or a virtual machine, and how to configure it after installation. We have also discussed the benefits and drawbacks of using MikroTik OS ISO, and answered some frequently asked questions.


MikroTik RouterOS is a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective operating system for your router. It offers a large feature set that can meet various networking needs. You can download MikroTik OS ISO for free and try it out before buying a license or a RouterBOARD device. However, you should be aware of the limitations and risks of using the free version. You should also keep your RouterOS version updated to the latest available to enjoy the new features and security updates.


We hope you have found this article helpful and


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