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Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:02 pm
by bigcw
Hi all

We are deploying around 200-250 routers per week at present with our own config 'netinstalled' on them (so if the customer does a factory reset it does not break the router).

Currently we netinstall them one at a time using the Mikrotik supplied software, so each router has to be plugged in, hold reset pin down, wait for it to appear in software, etc. This is ok at small volumes but now the numbers have increased takes up a lot of time.

Is there any way to speed up this process? For example...

1. Is there a way of automating the process of getting into netinstall mode? For example, is there a command that can be issued 'reboot into boot loader mode' so I can write a script to automate that part (eg tied to a DHCP lease event that would spot the router grabbing an IP)

2. Is the netinstall process itself based on a standard tftp or something like that? If so, is it possible to set up a server that can deal with multiple routers connecting at once?

...or does anyone have any other suggestions/experience/etc that can make the process less time consuming?

Thanks, Chris

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:02 pm
by pukkita
1. Is there a way of automating the process of getting into netinstall mode? For example, is there a command that can be issued 'reboot into boot loader mode' so I can write a script to automate that part (eg tied to a DHCP lease event that would spot the router grabbing an IP)
/system routerboard settings set boot-device=try-ethernet-once-then-nand
2. Is the netinstall process itself based on a standard tftp or something like that? If so, is it possible to set up a server that can deal with multiple routers connecting at once?
It uses tftp amongst other things, not sure if it would be possible to setup a neutral multi-host netinstall server by a using standard tftp / dhcp setup.

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:03 pm
by pe1chl
It uses tftp amongst other things, not sure if it would be possible to setup a neutral multi-host netinstall server by a using standard tftp / dhcp setup.
It sure would be nice when there is documentation that describes the netinstall process in terms of standard protocols so it would be easier to write a netinstall procedure that is easier to use in a non-Windows non-GUI environment.
(netinstall can run under wine but it would be better when it could run from commandline)

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:59 pm
by pukkita
(netinstall can run under wine but it would be better when it could run from commandline)
It would be actually really nice, as it would be possible to setup tftp/dhcp netinstall servers on the network.

I haven't fully reverse engineered what netinstall does exactly, wonder what's the reason (apart from easing it for regular users) why Mikrotik doesn't unveil what's exactly done, most probably is the typical dhcp options - tftp combo as done to provision/upgrade VoIP phones, etc maybe plus some validation thrown in.

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:45 pm
by bigcw
My guess would be that it doesn't use dhcp as otherwise other hosts on the network would break whilst netinstall was running.

Having said that, perhaps it does use dhcp but only responds to Mikrotik MAC addresses? But even then it would potentially break other routers on the network.

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:59 pm
by ebreyit
FlashFig is available for Mass config. https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Flashfig your issue might be the fact that factory reset reverts back to Mikrotik default not your own th.ough

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:01 pm
by pe1chl
The recommendation is to use a direct cable between the router and the PC used to run netinstall. Or at most have a switch between them.
It may well be that ignoring this recommendation and putting both of them on a live network may break things.

Looks like it is time to just try it, running netinstall under wine and running wireshark in parallel.

Re: Mass netinstall

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:34 pm
by bigcw
It may well be that ignoring this recommendation and putting both of them on a live network may break things.
I've always run netinstall on a local network. It doesn't break dhcp in my experience.