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LAN & WAN Reviews

In Use

I think I noted earlier that the ERL doesn't do much out of the box. The only thing that is set up is that the port marked 0 (eth0) is assigned an IP address of 192.168.1.1 so that you can get to the web admin interface. If you'd rather jump right into configuring via command line (CLI), SSH is enabled on port 22, so that you can connect with putty, WinSCP or your favorite SSH client. Your other option is to rustle up a DB9 to RJ45 serial console cable (there isn't one in the box) to connect that way.

If you go the Ethernet-connected route, you'll need to statically assign an IP address in the 192.168.1.X subnet to the computer you are going to use for configuration and plug it into the ERL's port 0.

The shot below shows what you'll see when you log in.

ERL default Dashboard

ERL default Dashboard

I'm going to do a separate article on setting up the ERL and even provide a few working configurations for you to upload. But for now, you can try using the SOHO example configuration found in the Ubiquiti Wiki to get set up.

The interface is a multi-windowed environment where you can have multiple settings screens open at once and open up a CLI window from the web interface. The GUI is very responsive and remained responsive even when I was running IxChariot traffic through the ERL full-throttle.

There are only little info popups scattered around the GUI for help. So you'd best be connected to the internet via other means when you are trying to first configure the ERL. Some of the CLI commands can be found in the Wiki, but there isn't a complete list or a downloadable reference available from Ubiquiti. Since EdgeOS hasn't diverged much from Vyatta at this point, the Vyatta Quick Start and Basic CLI references might be helpful in getting up the learning curve.

I've put some of the key screens and commentary in the gallery below so that you can get more of a feel for the interface.

Routing Performance

Routing throughput was measured running 1.0.2 firmware, using our router test process. I configured ERL using the SOHO example configuration as a guide to get started. I then used the Port Forward example to forward ports 1 - 65535 using a destination NAT rule and adding a rule to the basic WAN_IN firewall rules. This essentially put my LAN client into "DMZ" and allowed IxChariot tests to run in both directions.

Table 2 summarizes and compares the ERL's routing benchmark results and includes two other routers that ranked above it for WAN to LAN (download) throughput, the EnGenius ESR750H and ASUS RT-AC66U.

Test Description Ubiquiti ERL EnGenius ESR750H ASUS RT-AC66U
WAN - LAN 822 890 836
LAN - WAN 773 907 839
Total Simultaneous 1307 868 820
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 29354 29666 30069
Firmware Version 1.0.2 1.3.4 3.0.0.4.164
Table 2: Routing throughput

Note that the differences in Maximum Simultaneous Connections should not be taken literally. Ever since I switched to using Win 7 machines to run the test, the test limit has moved around a bit, but is in the range of all the results shown. So consider all three routers to have run into the limit of my current test procedure.

The IxChariot composite plot below shows very steady throughput. No complaints in that department.

Ubituiqi ERL IxChariot routing throughput test summary

Ubituiqi ERL IxChariot routing throughput test summary

Closing Thoughts

I am not a networking professional and like my routers easy to configure. I also don't care for routers that require separate rule sets for router and firewall when it comes time to forward ports. So the EdgeRouter Lite didn't exactly put a smile on my face as it turned what is usually a 30 minute test process into a day long voyage of discovery.

The bottom line is that this is not a router that the average router buyer should even consider. It is poorly documented, difficult to set up and will test your patience unless you have experience with the Linux command line, understand routing mechanics and know what router interfaces are and how to use them. Not to mention that it has only, at best, two LAN ports, if you are willing to delve into the command line to bridge the two. So you'll probably need to buy a Gigabit switch to go along with it.

That said, if you're a fan of router distros like Untangle and pfSense, comfortable wrangling DD-WRT via the command line or would need your Mikrotik pried out of your cold, dead, hand, you might want to spend the $100 bucks or so to impress your friends and become a ERL fanboi.

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