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: