Software router state of the art

it's interesting that no one has mentioned the Nokia platform in this
discussion... they have a pc-based rackable server platform (in the
ip530/ip560 sized box) which would do T3 interfaces (from nokia I
believe even). Looking at the nokia website now I don't see WAN
capabilities below the 1220 though :frowning: so you'd have to be in for that
at least.


Andrew D Kirch wrote:

Rev. Jeffrey Paul wrote:

But if you want free suggestions, then you'll have to put up with
half answers, vendor fanboys, and the usual ruckus of NANOG.

As much as I hate to contribute to the problem, I'd like to point out
that the barrage of useless, off-topic, empty traffic on this list in
the last week is, in my estimation, quite a bit above the "usual" ruckus

While I'm not one to thunk down the rulebook, can you all collectively
knock it off?


I haven't followed the other threads in the last week, but I don't think that a discussion of routers is off topic. While Michael's opinion was expressed in a fairly tongue-in-cheek method as would be required by his response, I don't see anything offtopic, perhaps just hotly worded.

I wasn't too thrilled about being accused of OS politics when I was genuinely concerned about deploying a software router based on things I've heard in passing or read about here previously. It *is* nice to know that someone found out that FreeBSD 7 hates OSPF - since I actually use OSPF - and that would have tormented me for a while had I gone that route.

Back to the topic at hand, unfortunately I wouldn't have the luxury of converting T1/T3 to Ethernet. I've used cards from Digium and Sangoma in the past for T1 and been relatively pleased, although older Digium cards hated sharing an IRQ with anything.


We use a lot of Sangoma's stuff ourselves, both for data and TDM voice applications. For the most part, it's worked flawlessly. The few problems we've had were dealt with amazingly quickly on their end - one of their developers stayed well after midnight and gave me a custom fix for a problem that was pretty insignificant to us.

They support Linux a bit more strongly than FreeBSD, but both should work for what you need. Unless you're trying to install it on a 486, you'll have no problem handling 45mbps of traffic, bgp, nat, firewalls, etc. no matter what the PPS rate is.

You get the full source to their drivers, the only exception is the firmware loaded onto the echo canceler DSP for voice applications.

That said, they are a small company. Don't buy if you're expecting TAC level support contracts, glossy manuals or a GUI web interface to set the card up.

T3 levels of bandwidth are well inside the "no longer a problem" scale of software routing. Quagga or Xorp, combined with your favorite software firewall, nat, or other goodies and you're up. If I remember right, someone made a Xorp bootable CD that had Sangoma's drivers included, so you were up and running pretty fast.

If you want more specific info about anything, ask off list.

-- Kevin

I gotta disagree with you, especially with regard to this thread. Much of the conversations on this topic have ancillary benefits, specifically for folks who need to populate networks with things like 10g forensic sensors or similiar. I don't see commodity hardware router discussions being any different from a foundry vs juniper vs crisco discussion, be it typical fanboy nonsense or otherwise. As far as active threads on nanog go, the signal to noise ratio on this one has already far exceeded more 'operational' ones. Even anecdotal experiences noted thus far have been pretty insightful, and useful.

I even totally resisted the urge of bombing the thread by extolling the virtues of the Killer NIC as a solution to all the throughput problems people have, because I felt it would really derail what has thus far been a fairly educational thread.

That said though, the more I thought about it (the killer nic joke), the more I looked at it. What's the state of NPU offloading amongst software routers? Is the notion even viable? I've seen a couple remarks about various brands of network cards having various buffer and interrupt driven issues as serious limiters to pps throughput, which is what prompted me to think of it in the first place.

- billn


AFAIK, none of Juniper's Juniper kit rocks BSD outside of the
management interfaces and control plane (not even sure about the
latter, tbh).

someone feel free to correct me...

Aaron Glenn wrote:

Andrew D Kirch wrote:

Anyone have experience with RouterOS ( Created mostly to run on these guys I think ( which generally don't get above 200k pps on the higher models.. But will RouterOS run on bigger boxen?

Yes I do, and I'm still in therapy. I was pushing 30mbit, and I can't remember how many PPS through one, and it crashed about once a month requiring onsite intervention (usually at midnight). This was running on a Compaq Deskpro I think. It doesn't have much support for good network cards. I suspect the Realtek's were behind the crashes.

The Realteks were almost certainly to blame. Just like any other "server," good hardware is well worth it. RouterOS 2.9 and 3.x support Intel's gigabit server NICs, which work quite well. sells a few nice purpose-built rackmount appliances for this sort of thing. (Just a happy customer, don't work there or anything.)

If you have the budget, and need the single-purpose horsepower, you'll usually be happier with Cisco or Juniper or someone that makes dedicated routing kit. If money's tight, or you need one box to do several network-related jobs for whatever reason, Mikrotik's software is another useful tool to have.

David Smith