Support - Full Duplex using ALIX 3C2 Routerboard with RouterOS

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  Installing RouterOs on ALIX 3C2

One of our customers, Andrew, has some tips regarding installing Mikrotik RouterOS to run full duplex. As we do not support software to run on ALIX Routerboards (there are many options available for choice of software) we have reproduced his comments below. Andrew lists a query to Mikrotik and the responses to it, as well as his tips. Bear in mind that the link may be updated or removed by Mikrotik, but the comments appear below as they originally did.


I found to be very impressive and very capable piece of software.

I had problems loading it but now solved as below:

First posting:

I am trying to load RouterOS 3.10 on an Alix 3c2 board and not succeeding no matter which method I try :( Alix BIOS is latest v0.99, I'm using the X86 version of RouterOS, I've tried
512 MB and 1 GB cfs

Compact Flash
Using NetInstall on a Compact flash: when booting the first time I get

Loading linux...
Loading initrd.rgz....
then nothing

If I boot a second time from that flash I get
Loading system with initrd
then nothing

PXE Boot
Using NetInstall to PXE boot I get:

01F0 Master 044A CF 1GB
Phys C/H/S 1966/16/63 Log C/H/S 983/32/63

Intel UNDI, PXE-2.0 (build 082)
Copyright (C) 1997,1998,1999 Intel Corporation
VIA Rhine III Management Adapter v2.43 (2005/12/15)

CLIENT MAC ADDR: 00 0D B9 14 82 30.

then nothing and the mac address is never shown in NetInstall

Any help will be much appreciated.


First Response: [Note: WRAP was the predecessor of the ALIX Routerboard]

Post subject: Re: Installing RouterOS on Alix 3c2

I have loaded several 3c2 boards with ROS without problem. I usually do this blind with no console connected and my console connection experience come from WRAP so....

You get
"Loading linux...
Loading initrd.rgz....
then nothing.

(1) The fact that it says loading linux is good, means that is can read from the CF card.

(2) IIRC from my WRAP experience, after ROS loaded, the data rate on the serial port was changed to 38400 or 115200 or something like that from whatever it was before so I had to change the settings on the console connection to see the rest of the load process.

(3) Are there any packages you have excluded in the load process?

(4) What are you using to load ROS on the CF card?

(5) Go ahead and just do it blind. Load the CF card. Put it in the 3c2 and let it run for ten minutes. After that reset it and see if it shows up in neighbour view.


Enquirer's reply to respondent:

[ Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:23 pm ]

Post subject: Re: Installing RouterOS on Alix 3c2

I loaded it blind and it WORKED first time, many thanks!!!

I was loading ROS, all packages, with NetInstall onto the cf. This time I just put the cf into the Alix and left it for about ten minutes without the console.

The ethernet port lights go out almost immediately, then after about ten minutes the board reboots itself, the port lights come back on, connect with serial link, 38400 (set on Alix bios and Putty serial connection), press return and up comes the login message.

Secret = have faith and do nothing!

Many thanks again, I've been going round in circles for the last couple of
days trying to get it loaded.

Additional tips from Andrew:

There are two ways of running full duplex in Router OS:

1. Bonding

Bonds two links together, traffic in both directions on each link, redundancy if one fails, fastest overall but more complex to set up the routing.

I got it working but it was causing delays on my network due to the routing not being set up quite right.

I changed to Nstreme below but when I've got time will change back to a bonded link and try to sort the routing problem out.

2. 'Nstreme Dual'

Traffic in one direction on each link, quick to set up, but max speed is the max speed of one unidirectional link and no redundancy.

I have a stable Nstreme dual link regularly transferring data at 39 Mbps, ie..about 3 minutes for a 740 MB test file transfer.

One other tip, use the same polarity on both aerials as the Alix seems arbitrary as to which card is Wlan1/Wlan2 so it is very easy to get it wrong, and also having all the same polarity will make tracking down the source of any problems/low performance much easier as you can swap the cards/antenna tx/rx at each end via the software to find where the problem is.

NB Also I found 'winbox', the windows interface to RouterOS, very useful.