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Thoughts on the hEX S? Thinking of testing it against my ER-X

Discussion in 'Routers' started by ashG, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. ashG

    ashG Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    25
    After posting my "thanks for all the help!" reply in the buying advice thread (and it still stands - thanks!) I was doing some digging around and learning and found that my ER-X wasn't making use of ipv6. I ended up staying up way too late into the morning configuring the router by following several guides, each time ending up with ipv6 addresses assigned for about 15 minutes before the router froze and rebooted without ipv6 enabled.

    More digging led me to info that the Edgerouters have an issue with Comcast's ipv6 implementation and the crew at Ubiquiti aren't giving a timeline on the fix despite being very open about all the other fixes coming.

    I saw several people mentioning the Mikrotik hEX line of routers as an alternative to consider. The newest one, the hEX S, is similar in price and specs and doesn't have anyone complaining about incompatibility with Comcast.

    I also thought about just waiting out EdgeOS 2.0, but now the implementation for the chip that the ER-X is based on is pushed back. Again. It was supposed to be supported in Alpha 2, but now Alpha 3 is questionable.

    Reviews look good so far on the hEX S. Would I be getting myself all mixed up trying it out? Would it be an upgrade, sidegrade, or downgrade from the X? Why can't I just accept off the Walmart shelf consumer stuff anymore?

    Thanks for the input!
     
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  3. System Error Message

    System Error Message Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2014
    Messages:
    3,964
    there are people who compare and so on but the fundamental differences are in the brands themselves. Both brands differ greatly in their focus and skill needed to set them up. With mikrotik you need to know what you're doing, its very routing focused so you cant even install htop or anything other than what they have but you can install htop on a ubiquiti edgerouter and it is easier to set up as it does not hide its linux origins either.

    When it comes to mikrotik, without hardware acceleration it is faster than ubiquiti, this is a given. Mikrotik being router focused performs well in software so will outperform ubiquiti in complex QoS situations, and ubiquiti has tried to falsely show mikrotik as being much slower than their ubiquiti edgerouters which is false as people tend to load very heavy configs on mikrotik, burdening it with features that if a ubiquiti edgerouter were to use would cripple it to such very slow speeds.

    If you want a router that doesnt need to run squid, htop and any other linux networking goodies, and have the skill go with mikrotik, otherwise ubiquiti edgerouter. Personally i'd go with mikrotik as their development is actually much better and when it comes to ubiquiti i tend to recommend their other product lines and not their edgerouters.

    ubiquiti's actions and their investment brochure is very suspicious as a company, and some have tried to put light on this. They call their fan base fanatic as well and they have die hard fans too who refuse to accept that anything can be better. Mikrotik's consumer base arent brand loyal, they only care about getting the best at a budget and have the networking skills.
     
    ashG likes this.
  4. kvic

    kvic Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2014
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    Location:
    22.4399N 114.2222E
    This new Hex S is apparently the competitor to ER-X SFP from UBNT. Hex S comes with a prettier case IMO. So it basically stacks up like this Hex vs ER-X, and Hex S vs ER-X SFP.

    All these routers are based on MediaTek 7621A Soc, which is a very capable chip at its price. Mikrotik is doing an outstanding job at system level optimization from what I read.

    For example, both Hex make use of 2Gbps bandwidth between CPU and ports. Hence, it could support 1Gbps full duplex routing. ER-X's on the other hand can only do 500Mbps full duplex routing because UBNT either fails to enable it or purposely not enable the full 2Gbps CPU bandwidth.

    Hex's come with 16MiB flash and so you can imagine the firmware size at most won't be bigger than that. A typical ER-X firmware size is about 75MiB! Among the 75MiB are useless config examples and readme docs from upstream packages. That could well add up to a few MiB flash space. No one bother to look at it but UBNT fanboys will praise EdgeOS developers for saving ~400 bytes (yes bytes) by not including one feature. Go figure.

    Hex's come with Microtik proprietary "fast path", supposedly to work as fast as hardware acceleration. ER-X's doesn't have "fast path" though there is a community patched version available (which has hope but years away getting into EdgeOS).

    From a SoC perspective, you aren't making an upgrade. From firmware perspective, you're getting more performance (and perhaps functionalities) by switching to Hex S.

    Another possibility is to run OpenWRT on your ER-X. You will gain back performance (as it enables 2Gbps CPU bandwidth) as well as "fast path" from what I read.

    The only downside for some people is losing Vyatta CLI which I personally grow to like it. So perhaps another way out is to run VyOS (the open source continuation of the Vyatta project) on a X86 machine. Actually would be a fun project if someone ports it to ARM since so many SBC and router boards are available.
     
    Nullity and ashG like this.
  5. umarmung

    umarmung Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Messages:
    186
    Vyatta is command-line only. Not really an option for most people.

    Mikrotik RouterOS devices have a steep learning curve (probably the steepest without going into CLI or raw *nix commands). However, the Winbox or even Web interface is very powerful and straightforward once you get the concepts.

    I do not believe RouterOS has ipv6 packages enabled by default. So, you will have to login and enable them under Packages and then you should use run the System Reset Configuration command to bring up a user-friendly configuration, especially basic ipv6 firewall rules.

    Once you have set it up, it will be rock solid. For support, you can hit up the Mikrotik forums and /r/mikrotik on Reddit.
     
    ashG likes this.
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