MikroTik – RouterOSv7 first look – L3 ASIC performance testing

When MikroTik announced the CRS3xx series switches a few years ago, one of the most exciting aspects of that news release was the prospect of L3 forwarding in hardware on very inexpensive devices.

A quick review of the Marvell Prestera ASIC family showed a number of advanced routing, switching, MPLS and VxLAN capabilites.

Fast forward to 2020, where MikroTik has started to enable some of those features in RouterOS v7 beta.

Now we can finally take some of the CRS3xx switches and test their capabilities with L3 forwarding performance in hardware


CRS 3xx series capabilities overview

Before getting into the testing, it’s probably helpful to review some of the basic specs and capabilities of the CRS3xx switch line.

Here is a chart from MikroTik that outlines ACL rule count, Unicast FDB entries and MTU size.

CRS 3xx model comparison

MIkroTik has been working on the development of the features listed below to offload into hardware.

For the tests in this article, we’ll be using IPv4 Unicast and Inter-VLAN routing.

Supported feature list

Currently, the following switches are supported.

For the testing in this article, we are using the CRS317-1G-16S+

Switches supported by 7.1beta2



Performance testing – overview

The physical setup for testing is fairly straightforward.

  • HP DL380 gen7 with ProxMox PVE 6.2-4
  • 2 x 10G Multimode OM4 fiber jumpers
  • 4 x 10G Multimode SFPs
  • CRS 317-1G-16S+ running RouterOS 7.1beta2

The logical setup is also very straightforward

  • ProxMox/KVM hypervisor using PVE 6.2-4
  • Two RFC1918 subnets and VLANs to test intervlan routing performance
  • Two Ubuntu 20.04 LTS VMs
  • iperf3 on both Ubuntu VMs

MikroTik Configuration


Test #1 – iperf3 testing at 96 byte MTU

CPU – 0% to 3%

CRS 317 – interface sfp-sfpplus15

iperf3 results

Test #2 – iperf3 testing at 512 byte MTU

CPU – 0% to 3%

CRS 317 – interface sfp-sfpplus15

iperf3 results

Test #3 – iperf3 testing at 1500 byte MTU

CPU – 0% to 3%

CRS 317 – interface sfp-sfpplus15

iperf3 results

Conclusions

The initial results are very promising. Getting close to 10G sustained L3 throughput using an ASIC on a device that lists for $399 USD is unheard of.

The most noteworthy items for improvement are the number of TCP retransmits in the iperf testing and the speed reduction as the MTU is reduced.

Normally, most ASIC based platforms will push 96 bytes through as fast as 1500 bytes. The retransmits suggest that more work is needed in the way RouterOS interfaces with the switching buffers for L3 HW offload

This is also on a beta version of RouterOS that will still go through many revisions before going into prod so I would expect to see the performance to improve as the code matures.

All things considered though, things are looking great to take the CRS3xx series and be able to deploy them as a true L3 switch in prod sometime in 2021.

Conference Preview: WISP Virtual Summit 2020

photo credit: Jeff Little

It seems like ages ago that we blocked out time in our schedules to fly to technical conferences and immerse ourselves with great people and content for an entire week.

In reality, it’s only been a few months but 2020 has made it seem like a lifetime.

However, those of us in tech are quick to adapt and virtual conferences are now a thing.

For the fixed wireless industry, in-person conferences are critical because most of the attendees are entrepreneurs.

For a small business owner in tech, going to a show is one of the best ways to evaluate content and business opportunities needed to stay competitive in a short amount of time.

The first virtual conference for Wireless ISPs

Thankfully, due to some amazing efforts and collaboration in the WISP industry – led by Preseem and supported by WISPA, we are about to kick off the first virtual conference for the fixed wireless industry at 10 AM Eastern on July 28th, 2020.

An enormous amount of work has gone into planning and preparation to replicate the experience of an in-person technical conference as much as possible.

First thing’s first….get registered

Kick off the registration process by visiting: https://wispvirtualsummit2020.com/

First you’ll need to get registered by signing up and paying a very modest $25 registration fee – probably the least expensive tech conference you’ll ever attend.

My company, IP ArchiTechs is a platinum sponsor and you can use our discount code of IPARCHITECHS25 to save a few bucks before completing your registration.

Conference layout

When you first sign into the conference site at https://wispvirtualsummit2020.com/ you’ll see a page similar to the picture above.

This is the main event area online where you can browse to virtual vendor booths, check the event schedule with speakers and live streams as well as earn points for prizes throughout the day.

There are chat areas, a social media wall and group discussions.

Getting Started

There is a great how-to video that’s very brief to quickly orient you on how to navigate the conference platform. Take a few minutes and check it out

Live Sessions/Agenda

Looking at the menu on the left, you’ll see all of the sessions planned for the day with times and links.

I’ll be talking about Overlays/Underlays for WISPs in the Core and Backhaul Network: Designing in 2020 session at 2:45 PM Eastern Time.

This session will be helpful if you want to learn more about technologies like MPLS, Segment Routing, VxLAN, VPLS and their role in a WISP network.

WISPA Keynote

The sessions will kick off with Claude Aiken, the President of WISPA giving a keynote on WISPs during the COVID-19 era at 10 AM Eastern time.

Virtual booths

Visit the virtual booth for each vendor to get contact information, a brief description of the company and videos to get an idea of how each company can benefit you and your WISP.

Just as it would be at an in-person conference, the booth will be staffed via chat and you can interact with people at the virtual booth in real time.


See you there!

I’ll be online all day along with the rest of the team at IP ArchiTechs if you’re interested in chatting about network design, operations or whatever….give us a shout.

Hope to see you there!