Mikrotik hAP lite classic

For a Network Engineer living and working on the field has some challenges that are not common in office environments.

I have a set of tools, hardware and software, that I bought or built over the years that allow me to accomplish my job in more effective way.

I used to carry a small Access Point to provide connectivity inside a datacenter or campus when the rack is located in odd places (you know what I mean).

A couple of times I’d have liked to have also a small switch with me to connect a few devices so I was looking for a solution.

Initial requirements:

  • small form factor with at least 4 ports
  • small power supply
  • VLAN support would be a plus

Googling around I found a product from Mikrotik named hAP lite classic that goes beyond my initial requirements

Is it a router? Is it a switch? Is it an Access Point?

Actually it’s all of them and has also some basic firewall features you won’t expect from a cheap product (25 Euros on Amazon.it).

Only downside: ports are FastEthernet and not Gigabit. This is not an issue, I need connectivity over performances to configure and operate network devices.

Management

Box configuration and management can be done via CLI, http GUI or WinBox. I usually use WinBox because it operates at L2 and allows to configure the device even when I’m using a different subnet.

Performances

Can’t expect high-level performance from such a cheap box. I use it mostly to ssh into devices or do some upgrades of few megs.

WiFi coverage

Integrated WiFi is 802.11b/g/n with 1.5dBi antenna, 2,4GHz only. It is enough to cover my working range and connect a few devices.

Size

The box is small and what I really like is it is USB powered so there’s no need to carry an additional power supply.

Power

The product comes with a 5V/1A power supply but to reduce the weight on my bag I use my phone’s and it works fine. Sometimes I even use a battery pack when power is not easy to reach.

Some math: max power consumption is 3,5W, it means 0,7A ad 5V. With a 20A battery bank is should last more than 24h. With a smaller power bank of 3A is should stay up for 4 hours. Sounds good!

Final thoughts

I’ve just skipped features I’m not interested right now but the hAP lite classic supports like dynamic routing (OSPF and BGP), IPSec VPN, MPLS, firewall, shaping etc.

What I’d really like on it would be ZeroTier. On vendor’s support forums there are other people asking for the same feature so maybe there’s hope for future updates.

So what are you carrying on your bags to improve you work quality and effectiveness?

 
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