Categories
MikroTik Networking Windows Server

MikroTik VPN with Windows NPS RADIUS

With the advance of cheap MikroTik routers and ready to use CHR instances, setting up a VPN concentrator for remote access has become an easy task. Moving even further, a single router could provide VPN access and dynamic routing to integrate remote networks to the backbone.

I have started a gig as a consultant and sysadmin for a logistics insurance company, and one of my first proposals was to improve the network acess for road warriors and remote workers.

The past

There was a Proxmox hypervisor, with some Windows 2012 R2 servers, providing Terminal Services, to execute a locally installed client for an ERP system. Proxmox was also using iptables on its the Debian backend of the to masquerade the VM networks with a public IP address, for Internet connectivity, dstnat rules for a NGINX reverse proxy, and RDP for the Windows servers..

I guess we all know having internet-exposed RDP is not a good idea, even if it is running in a non default port, so the former sysadmin transitioned to a SSH tunnel system, where the users connected to the hypervisor via SSH to establish tunnel to the desired server.

This solution, which I considered not elegant, was the only available at the moment due to networking constraints of the VPS provider, so really it was the best they were able to do, and it worked fine for them.

Over the Proxmox hypervisor, they also had a MikroTik CHR instance, with a P1 license, which was used to make a L2TP tunnel to a RB2011UiAS-rm located on their HQ.

Networks behind the tunnel endpoints were routed with static routers, so I configured a quick multi-area OSPF routing system, with the directly connected networks on area 0, along with the /30 network of the tunnel. I added an additional area on both ends, for the future VPN networks. Once OSPF was working as expected, I remove the static routes.

Securing the tunnels

This interconnection via the L2TP tunnel was just plain ol’ L2TP, without IPsec. This is no bueno, and could be improved. Fortunately, IPsec configuration on MikroTik is trivial. Just select “Use IPsec” on both ends, and use the same IPsec pre-shared key.

Configuring via Winbox

This can of course be configured via CLI. Would you like some RouterOS configuration Ansible on next posts? Let me know in the comments.

/interface l2tp-server server
set authentication=mschap1,mschap2 default-profile=VPN enabled=yes ipsec-secret="PUT_A_SECRET_HERE" use-ipsec=yes

VPN profiles

It’s always a good idea to copy the default-encryption profile, and create a new one based on that template. I set up a local address which was of course, part of the networks announced in a separate area by the OSPF process. I also added a IP pool to be able to provide dynamic addresses for the VPN users.

PPP profile

Maybe you are aware that in the Cisco world, you have to use tcp adjust-mss to adjust the maximum TCP segment size, to advoid fragmentation of packets over the tunnel. Fortunately, this is configured by default on RouterOS.

We don’t want any fragmentation

Finally, to be able to redirect the dial-in to a RADIUS server, we need to instruct the PPP AAA system to use RADIUS, as shown next.

Setting up RADIUS authentication

RADIUS servers are very simple to set up on RouterOS.

Under the RADIUS submenu, add a new server for PPP service, and configure the following parameters.

  • IP address of the radius server
  • RADIUS secret
  • Authentication and accounting ports, usually 1812 and 1813. Some servers use 1645 for accounting. Those are all UDP.
  • REALM if your server supports that extension
  • Which source address should the router use for its NAS-IP-Address
Configuring RADIUS

Using Windows NPS as a RADIUS server

NPS can work without a Certificate Authority but if you are working in an Active Directory environment, you’ll save a lot of headaches by installing the CA role.

Installing NPS and CA
Selecting Roles

In my particular scenario, the server was not part of a domain so the certificate generation and association was skipped.

Once the roles have been configured, I headed to the NPS service configuration, and add new RADIUS client.

Make sure to match the RADIUS secret and the source IP address as you configured on the MikroTik side.

New RADIUS Client

Next, the network access policies. I wanted to match the NAS IPv4 address, and the authentication types. If you are not familiar with the RADIUS lang, NAS stands for Network Access Server, which in this case, is the MikroTik router which provides the VPN service.

MikroTik source address

I had to use a CHAP fallback due to some legacy devices withuout MSCHAP support.

Authentication methods

Next, I added a new Access condition, matched the NAS address once again, and selected the local server as point of authentication.

Authenticate on this server

Once everything was properly configured, I set up the VPN client on my side, which looks like as follows. The idea of using NPS as RADIUS was to be able to use my Windows account credentials for the VPN.

VPN client on Windows 10

I verified the successful authentication on the router logs, and the VPN was sucessfully connected.

Categories
Ansible Juniper Networking

Ansible and Juniper Junos – Using SSH Keys

Previous posts introduced basics connection methods to manage Juniper devices using Ansible playbooks. The inventory files had sensitive information and credentials which should not be accessible to anyone.

SSH and NETCONF over SSH requires client authentication, for example with and username and password, which could looks like this:

admin> show configuration system login 
user admin {
    uid 2000;
    class super-user;
    authentication {
        encrypted-password "$1$./TeE4CZ$uAMigDedlRuuJgcZx4hYk0"; ## SECRET-DATA
    }
}

If you are a frequent SSH user, maybe you are aware that there are other login methods besides using usernames and passwords. By using a key-pair, with public and private keys, a password is no longer needed. The public key is installed on the remote host, and the private key is kept on the control node.

Although by using keys a password is no longer needed, a passphrase can be used with a key, adding an additional security factor to the connection. In fact, using SSH keys with passphrases is considered best practice. However, a private key with a passphrase is less useful for scheduled automation tasks because an operator may not be available to enter the passphrase at the scheduled time.

Creating a Key Pair

A key pair is a set of two cryptographic keys, a public one and a private one. The public key, as its name says, is the one we expose to the public. The private key, must be kept in a secure location.

To create a key pair, lauch ssh-keygen on a new console and follow the prompts. This utility will create two files, which are the public and private keys. Use the -f flag to specify the destination of the output files.

arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ ssh-keygen -f ./juniper-hosts.key
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): 
Enter same passphrase again: 
Your identification has been saved in ./juniper-hosts.key.
Your public key has been saved in ./juniper-hosts.key.pub.
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:Kc/MZ11dLlXpcrK9PKO4L6XzaTrdczaek1ydzaFTFXw arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440
The key's randomart image is:
+---[RSA 2048]----+
|              ..+|
|               oE|
|              . =|
|         .   o O.|
|      . S     @.B|
|       *   . * +=|
|        = o = = +|
|         o =.o.%+|
|           +X=o+B|
+----[SHA256]-----+
arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ ls 
juniper-hosts.key  juniper-hosts.key.pub

Now that we have created the key pair, let’s examine them to find out how a key looks like.

This is the private key, which in fact is a plain text file with a RSA key inside it.

arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ cat juniper-hosts.key
-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
MIIEpQIBAAKCAQEAn0XtdTPJxWHQHeWi8IwSOGtsgWwW3z86Z91edH0dBS6SWDzm
seWshSTD2PdD8EU0mGac1V9+rWIJYIw0VZlpTeEKiNnS+1/feHxln+S0LLwn91E6
fgVRt6kE/9uTv217Pa5eP5HLbPuSwPsVMwRgdCJL1pYIFagJLyrsakDWE0qDtBXZ
0fendmUr6NrrCLofjHBkRASviJ9E4Vvx4YqrG9ak+2jX21g0LRNxZ/nFv2uHwVeI
gibC+1JiZ/IGaBSNCovF131wb1AUyLm5Z5DNvM6hu2C6+cMTNNQ5fiBfgMpryboW
4+MVCGJQ31EthyFEx0XPgjos/EcS9Pp436OppwIDAQABAoIBAQCVczEws4qV2oVF
OG/fFSAXrr0e6ATCMHsmcLKrzaZIcX3CrEqwDNoICQp4cPRf5SBIDKkHElc0a/Ru
ksCcvZnxCMQwy2vMkhaH4PoewaRLAbbiu2aOT4FxO3jEeA44JovowdAQCEcAmUMI
L9GhkG7NKk1NKnSllYogpz81KGd3qw21sRqb1NTLAlYnE4KOhJz+GKmJV8NdAaRj
zjkVeaLf3t/FCxPRhdAtoADkRQSS1KSCjU0hx0lDCmsdJzM8gFJykltzzBQJ9tZu
voPZ0TkaIjrR7o8+Oez/pkvUSa1AJPhmH7l6P3RqHdSzMJGQraM1yuvBOTixbnkt
lsQ26tZpAoGBAM/CbeNhJvGfl18kLLLLSsNb4femXXlBimo6TW4tOGdOunD6+fyt
LiA0FMLpWfvAh++/yvWX/jee+E3uXkDLLfQVWqWBbfFqIhU4VOKLpMvE5sMQzkOc
OyooZNR5hui9e2+eU5P2qND/MUVy4YrUBdHtK58Or/cqYT6sHA78e9OtAoGBAMRB
Y8F79BaqYoH7x0lJf51A45U5rLzKom8eJ+aJujDx9RgDvCEWCZmZ53q6MjvNgNBp
v5AZptCDn0nIfAVOn2hCmTIPs1IvaLgVfMtmufxzdM1aGdYF7wEu0u7DV+Dzspf2
h9Q/9C4Or4YZ5oe25Qf5mkwb+xnnmTZCWZETC70jAoGALvskplp91/3i2RzxDq1y
BqNsgfgZAyaTClqMz/Fh49qlxo66oSz4VUfxufHS618qXkjcuJTaY/GK7PSOU9Ce
X6fEi9Cs7/60HmBSsbgqV/n6xPmz6w4VQv9HbdTdcRwIIcGH3NnWawyKM846uo4f
ks0zJBDKMfZfbzC0V5840TECgYEAraoTZR6Tsw7ZFp6/DZoNZBEMknsz4OgK7vsn
YbiUW0VwleyQKFMA8bwf+xkS5JqIF2TMT+5zD+a5KKhRHr0hEDiGqab9DofHScYx
5SelAsEEJcdKP3qGsWxG2WNguz3K1vAf5/Ej2THDno4C0itE5la4dAr6m0S27i2u
ZlMNOzMCgYEAr3/7pkN2LdUCVZYEjVMAW4YxSzi4R5JeixyidZwihVF4GqqqJ2Nl
VaOQzleNYUg23QWBs/n6yz2iDQaQdKXNCcOwrsQYzkX0aMuEz+4iWXkDKcRIvGWt
5H/7ShsKoXFsvwbjXkaTnirBMqAJh4jyv4R3oAqIy966zJ5K2vd0nT4=
-----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----

And the public keys looks like this.

arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ cat juniper-hosts.key.pub 
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQCfRe11M8nFYdAd5aLwjBI4a2yBbBbfPzpn3V50fR0FLpJYPOax5ayFJMPY90PwRTSYZpzVX36tYglgjDRVmWlN4QqI2dL7X994fGWf5LQsvCf3UTp+BVG3qQT/25O/bXs9rl4/kcts+5LA+xUzBGB0IkvWlggVqAkvKuxqQNYTSoO0FdnR96d2ZSvo2usIuh+McGREBK+In0ThW/Hhiqsb1qT7aNfbWDQtE3Fn+cW/a4fBV4iCJsL7UmJn8gZoFI0Ki8XXfXBvUBTIublnkM28zqG7YLr5wxM01Dl+IF+AymvJuhbj4xUIYlDfUS2HIUTHRc+COiz8RxL0+njfo6mn arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440

This keypair can authenticate an user which connects via SSH.

Installing the public key on Junos

We already know that a basic authentication schema on Junos looks like this.

admin> show configuration system login 
user admin {
    uid 2000;
    class super-user;
    authentication {
        encrypted-password "$1$kYNQ.bg0$4T3W7GAPuXwsX3nbbsRCb/"; ## SECRET-DATA
    }
}

The main idea of using SSH keys, is to avoid user interaction, by trusting the keys instead of a credentials combination.

As seen above, the keys are plain text files. We need to install the public key on the Junos configuration, either configuring it manually, or using Ansible to configure it.

Manually configuring the key

I added a new user called ansible, set its class as super-user and configured its authentication as ssh-rsa.

[edit]
admin# show system login | display set                                                                                                                                 
set system login user admin uid 2000
set system login user admin class super-user
set system login user admin authentication encrypted-password "$1$MExZQJdK$lLhnzSw.CLSMQg5bdIiws."
set system login user ansible uid 2001
set system login user ansible class super-user
set system login user ansible authentication ssh-rsa "ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQCfRe11M8nFYdAd5aLwjBI4a2yBbBbfPzpn3V50fR0FLpJYPOax5ayFJMPY90PwRTSYZpzVX36tYglgjDRVmWlN4QqI2dL7X994fGWf5LQsvCf3UTp+BVG3qQT/25O/bXs9rl4/kcts+5LA+xUzBGB0IkvWlggVqAkvKuxqQNYTSoO0FdnR96d2ZSvo2usIuh+McGREBK+In0ThW/Hhiqsb1qT7aNfbWDQtE3Fn+cW/a4fBV4iCJsL7UmJn8gZoFI0Ki8XXfXBvUBTIublnkM28zqG7YLr5wxM01Dl+IF+AymvJuhbj4xUIYlDfUS2HIUTHRc+COiz8RxL0+njfo6mn arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440"

The SSH public key is copied and pasted between double quotes.

Using Ansible to configure the key

Altough the key can be configured manually on the remote hosts, what if we have hundreds, or thousands of hosts to configure?

The idea behind this series of posts is to use Ansible whenever possible, so, let’s write a quick playbook to automate the key configuration.

rturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ cat junos-install-ssh-key.yaml 
---
- hosts: all
  gather_facts: no

  vars:
    - auth_key: "{{lookup('file', '{{ key_file }}')}}"    

  tasks:
    - name: Install SSH key on remote host
      junos_config:
        lines:
          - set system login user ansible authentication ssh-rsa "{{ auth_key }}"
          - set system login user ansible class super-user

The playbook starts as usual, matching all hosts in the inventory, and without gathering facts, just for the sake of speed.

On vars, we are using the lookup plugin to read from a file and store its contents on a variable. Lookup can retrieve data from multiple sources, for example, take a secret from Hashicorp’s Vault. In this scenario, it will read a file which name is take from the key_file variable from the inventory.

It is possible to set a fixed file name on the playbook, but by taking the filename as a variable from the inventory, it gives us more flexibility. We could have multiple keys and rotate them by just changing the file name on the inventory, or use different keys per host group, and still apply the playbook to the full inventory, while using the proper key for each group.

The inventory for this playbook looks like the following. Notice the key_file variable which tells the playbook where to look for the key.

arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ cat junos-hosts.yaml 
all:
    hosts:
      "192.168.227.101":
    vars:
      ansible_connection: netconf
      ansible_network_os: junos
      ansible_user: admin
      ansible_password: Password$1
      key_file: juniper-hosts.key.pub

Running the playbook to install the key

The current configuration of router logins is:

admin> show configuration system login 
user admin {
    uid 2000;
    class super-user;
    authentication {
        encrypted-password "$1$MExZQJdK$lLhnzSw.CLSMQg5bdIiws."; ## SECRET-DATA
    }
}

Let’s run the playbook to apply the new configuration which will create the ansible user, set ssh-rsa authentication for it, and set its class as super-user.

arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ ansible-playbook junos-install-ssh-key.yaml -i junos-hosts.yaml 

PLAY [all] *****************************************************************************

TASK [Install SSH key on remote host] **************************************************
changed: [192.168.227.101]

PLAY RECAP *****************************************************************************
192.168.227.101            : ok=1    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0 

Ok, the playbook executed with no errors, and Ansible says there is 1 changed host, which is what we expected.

Let’s check the router configuration again.

admin> show configuration system login    
user admin {
    uid 2000;
    class super-user;
    authentication {
        encrypted-password "$1$MExZQJdK$lLhnzSw.CLSMQg5bdIiws."; ## SECRET-DATA
    }
}
user ansible {
    uid 2001;
    class super-user;
    authentication {
        ssh-rsa "ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQCfRe11M8nFYdAd5aLwjBI4a2yBbBbfPzpn3V50fR0FLpJYPOax5ayFJMPY90PwRTSYZpzVX36tYglgjDRVmWlN4QqI2dL7X994fGWf5LQsvCf3UTp+BVG3qQT/25O/bXs9rl4/kcts+5LA+xUzBGB0IkvWlggVqAkvKuxqQNYTSoO0FdnR96d2ZSvo2usIuh+McGREBK+In0ThW/Hhiqsb1qT7aNfbWDQtE3Fn+cW/a4fBV4iCJsL7UmJn8gZoFI0Ki8XXfXBvUBTIublnkM28zqG7YLr5wxM01Dl+IF+AymvJuhbj4xUIYlDfUS2HIUTHRc+COiz8RxL0+njfo6mn arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440"; ## SECRET-DATA
    }
}

There is a new user called ansible, with all the parameters we specified. That’s great!

Authenticating using keys

I wrote another playbook to show the system uptime

---
- hosts: all
  gather_facts: no

  tasks:
    - name: Get uptime
      junos_command:
        commands:
            - show system uptime
      register: uptime
    
    - name: Show uptime
      debug: var=uptime

And our inventory now looks like this.

all:
    hosts:
      "192.168.227.101":
    vars:
      ansible_connection: netconf
      ansible_network_os: junos
      ansible_user: ansible
      ansible_ssh_private_key_file: juniper-hosts.key
      ansible_python_interpreter: auto_silent

There is no plain text password, but instead, by setting up the ansible_ssh_private_key_file variable, we are instructing Ansible to authenticate using the private key.

arturo@arturo-ThinkPad-L440:~/Desktop/ansible-01$ ansible-playbook junos-auth-with-key.yaml -i junos-hosts-w-key.yaml 

PLAY [all] *****************************************************************************

TASK [Get uptime] **********************************************************************
ok: [192.168.227.101]

TASK [Show uptime] *********************************************************************
ok: [192.168.227.101] => {
    "uptime": {
        "ansible_facts": {
            "discovered_interpreter_python": "/usr/bin/python"
        }, 
        "changed": false, 
        "failed": false, 
        "stdout": [
            "Current time: 2020-01-12 16:25:10 UTC\nSystem booted: 2020-01-12 13:42:06 UTC (02:43:04 ago)\nProtocols started: 2020-01-12 13:42:27 UTC (02:42:43 ago)\nLast configured: 2020-01-12 16:09:02 UTC (00:16:08 ago) by admin\n 4:25PM  up 2:43, 3 users, load averages: 0.08, 0.02, 0.01"
        ], 
        "stdout_lines": [
            [
                "Current time: 2020-01-12 16:25:10 UTC", 
                "System booted: 2020-01-12 13:42:06 UTC (02:43:04 ago)", 
                "Protocols started: 2020-01-12 13:42:27 UTC (02:42:43 ago)", 
                "Last configured: 2020-01-12 16:09:02 UTC (00:16:08 ago) by admin", 
                " 4:25PM  up 2:43, 3 users, load averages: 0.08, 0.02, 0.01"
            ]
        ]
    }
}

PLAY RECAP *****************************************************************************
192.168.227.101            : ok=2    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0    skipped=0    rescued=0    ignored=0 

This is great, now Ansible authenticates using the SSH key. You maybe are thinking:

“Do i have to edit my inventory every time i want to use keys?”

The answer is, no, and in the next post we will set a interactive prompt to connect using user and password to run the first playbook, which will configure the key, and then we will run all the other playbooks connecting with this key.

Stay tuned for more!

Categories
MikroTik Networking Projects

Upgrading a MikroTik CHR Cluster

I upgraded a CHR cluster with the main objectives of reduce costs, improve network redundancy and provide an easy administration for CHR instances. As explained in previous posts, CHR can be run on many popular hypervisors, and most users are having great success using Hyper-V Failover clusters or vSphere HA to provide highly available routers without depending on VRRP or other gateway redundancy protocols.

These virtual routers currently provide two main services besides routing for ISP customers. They act as PPPoE concentrator for FTTH users, and provide traffic shaping and policing depending on the customer service plan.

Server Hardware

For this node, I will use a 32 core Dell R730, with 32 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB RAID 10 storage. On future post, new hosts will be added to the cluster.

Unracking the server

Network Conectivity

This server comes with a 4 port Gigabit Ethernet NIC, which could be used without any issues with the ixgbe driver.

First idea was to use two ports in a LACP bundle, and the other two in separate port groups.

I had previous Netflow analysis where I saw a predictable traffic behavior, where most of the bandwidth usage was going from and to a CDN peer of the ISP network. Customers had a mix of public and private addresses of the Class B segment, and they were being moved to CG-NAT ranges. In other words, traffic from a specific set of addresses were going from and to a specific set of addresses.

Why not configure two port-channels, instead of using separate port groups? I tested and due to the nature of the IP addressing on the customer side of the routers, none of the available hashing modes for LACP allowed to achieve a decent distribution on both links of the port-channel.

So, for the purposes of this cluster, I added an Intel X520 dual SFP+ card, providing 20 Gbps conectivity to the CHR instances. Peak bandwidth usage was around 4200 Mbps, so this card is more than enough to allow for future grow.

Installing the Intel X520 NIC

The Intel X520 only supports Intel branded SFP modules, and this behavior can be tuned configuring the kernel module. However, for this particular scenario, where both ports will be connected to a top of rack Dell Force10 S4048-ON switch, I choosed to use DAC cables to keep things simple.

DAC cables on the switch
Connecting the server

The server is using ESXi 6.5 for the hypervisor. After booting, I noticed the NICs were being recognized as vmnic5 and vmnic6, but they were using the ixgbe driver and only establishing links at 1 Gbps.

I downloaded the ixgben driver which is provided by VMware itself here and uploaded it to ESXi via SFTP.

For all my SFTP needs, my tool of choice always is Bitwise SSH client.

Once uploaded, I installed the offline bundle with the following command line.

[root@esxi] esxcli software vib install -d "/complete/path/to/the/driver/bundle"

Then I followed the KB article to disable the native ixgbe driver and use the new one. First, I placed the host on maintenance mode, and then I executedthe following to disable the driver.

[root@esxi] esxcli system module set --enabled=false --module=ixgbe

After a reboot, the new ixgben driver was loaded, and the NICs were establishing links at 10 Gbps.

I added the new NICs to the previously created virtual switches, checked the correct assignments of port groups, and then migrated the VMs to this host.

Categories
MikroTik Networking

Introduction to MikroTik CHR

MikroTik Cloud Hosted Router (CHR) is a RouterOS version intended to be used as a virtual machine instance.

It runs on x86-64-bit architecture and can be deployed on most hypervisors such as:

  • VMWare, ESXi, Player and Workstation
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Oracle VirtualBox
  • KVM‌
  • And others, like Xen, but I haven’t tested it yet

Some special requeriments apply depending on the subyacent hypervisor.

ESXi

Network adapters must be vmxnet3 or E1000‌. Just use vmxnet3 to get the most. Disks must be IDE, VMware paravirtual SCSI, LSI Logic SAS or LSI Logic Parallel.

Hyper-V

Network adapters must be Network adapter or Legacy Network adapter .Disks IDE or SCSI.

Qemu/KVM

Virtio, E1000 or vmxnet3 NICs. IDE, Sata or Virtio disks.

VirtualBox

Networking using E1000 or rtl8193, and disks with IDE, SATA, SCSI or SAS interfaces.

Licensing

The CHR images have full RouterOS features enabled by default, but they use a different licensing model than other RouterOS versions.

Paid licenses

p1

p1 (perpetual-1), which allows CHR to run indefinitely. It comes with a limit of 1Gbps upload per interface. All the rest of the features provided by CHR are available without restrictions. It can be upgraded p1 to p10 or p-unlimited.

p10

p10 (perpetual-10), which also allows CHR to run indefinitely, with a 10Gbps upload limit per interface. All features are available without restrictions. It can be upgraded to p-unlimited.

p-unlimited (really?)

The p-unlimited (perpetual-unlimited) license level allows CHR to run indefinitely. It is the highest tier license and it has no enforced limitations.

Free licenses (yay!)

There are two ways to use and try CHR free of charge.

free

The free license level allows CHR to run indefinitely, with a limit of 1Mbps upload per interface. All the rest of the features have no restrictions. This level comes activated by default on all images.

60-day trial

Th p1/p10/pU licenses can be tested with a 60 days trial.

Cool. How can i try it?

The easiest way to spin up a working instance of CHR is using the OVA appliance provided by MikroTik.

https://download2.mikrotik.com/routeros/6.43.14/chr-6.43.14.ova

Deployment on ESXi

Once downloaded, the OVA can be used to deploy a new instance. I’ll be using ESXi on this example. The OVA comes preconfigured with a single network adapter, but more interfaces can be added on a later stage.

Creating new VM from OVA template
Setting VM name, and uploading OVA file
I’ll use local storage for it
Thin provisioned disks, and a previously configured VM network
Review everything, and deploy

Initial Configuration

After the VM boots, log in via CLI with the default credentials:

  • Username: admin
  • Password: none

CHR comes with a free licence‌ by default, limited to 1Mbps upload limit. This is handy for lab purposes, or low traffic scenarios like stand-alone DHCP servers.

A DHCP client is enabled by default on the single existing ether1 interface. Use any of the following methods to find out the adquired address.

/ip dhcp-client print
/ip address print

Let’s get a trial licence. You will need the credentials for your MikroTik account. If you don’t have a MikroTik account, get one here.

The CHR instance will also need Internet access, so be sure to connect the virtual NIC to a VM network where it can make its way to the outside.

[admin@CHR] > sys license renew account=your@account.com password=yourpassword level=

Level ::= p-unlimited | p1 | p10

Once you request a trial license, check the status with

[admin@CHR] > sys lic print
        system-id: 0ywIRMYrtGA
            level: p1
  next-renewal-at: may/05/2019 17:59:59
      deadline-at: jun/04/2019 17:59:59

We’ll install The Dude on the next post, and configure it for some custom monitoring.