Page 1 of 1

NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:59 am
by davidreaton
I've tried NetInstall a number of times for Bricked routers, but with limited success. I've recently worked out a method which works consistently for me:

On PC:
Set ethernet properties / IP4
IP address: 192.168.88.2
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway: 192.168.88.1
Preferred DNS server: 192.168.88.1

Download latest ROS firmware and corresponding Netinstall
Turn off firewall
Run NetInstall
Net Booting – 192.168.88.3, Boot server enabled (use a different IP for router discovery)
Ethernet cable from computer to router eth 1
Hold reset button, plug in power, wait for router to show up in Netinstall window
Net Booting – Change IP address back to client address: 192.168.88.2
Select router
Browse for ROS firmware to install
Select (check box) corresponding ROS package
Click install.
After completion, click reboot. If this option does not appear, do a paperclip reset of the router to load the default configuration.

What I discovered that helped was to use a different IP when NetInstall is searching for routers, then switch back to the client IP defined earlier.

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:10 pm
by NathanA
It boggles the mind how many people do not understand the principles on which Netinstall works. Perhaps the Wiki documentation is not well-written, and I am just blind to it because I understand it and have been using it for so long...

"Net Booting – Change IP address back to client address: 192.168.88.2" << this step is absolutely unnecessary and won't actually do anything.

Explanation: Netinstall contains a built-in BOOTP (DHCP) server. The IP address that you are configuring on the Net Booting screen in Netinstall is the IP address that *you are asking Netinstall to assign to your router*. It has nothing to do with the IP address of your computer (other than the fact that it needs to be within the same subnet as the one you assigned to the computer, so that the router and computer can ARP to each other!). After your router is assigned this address, it will then communicate with your computer running the Netinstall application using this address.

Therefore it is necessary that the Net Booting IP address be *different* from the address you have assigned to the computer (but, again, within the same subnet). Setting it to the same address as your computer is nonsense because it means IP conflict...if you make it match your computer's IP, the router won't be able to talk to the computer because they will both have the same IP address.

Now, in your case, you are setting the Net Booting IP to 88.3 to start with, which is different than your computer's address (88.2), so all works fine for you. But by the time that the router shows up on the Netinstall screen, it has already been assigned the 88.3 address, so although going back to Net Booting and changing the IP to 88.2 to match the computer is *wrong*, in your case it doesn't do any harm because the IP assignment to the router has already taken place and it is already using 88.3, as it should.

So that step in your instructions doesn't do any harm (because you are doing it after DHCP assignment has already happened), but it doesn't do any good, either. If you omit it, everything will still work just fine.

-- Nathan

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:22 pm
by davidreaton
Nathan: Thanks for your comments and for not hitting me too hard! (lots of mean comments on some forums, but MT seems better). Your explanation makes sense. I wish I could have seen this information sooner.

You're right about the MT NetInstall instructions. They could be better. Why do people struggle with this? Over the past few years, I've had MT routers become bricked during routine ROS upgrades. They'd be in a continuous boot cycle, and could not be reset. Using NetInstall - NetInstall could find my router. I selected the proper ROS version. Clicking INSTALL did nothing. No formatting - no progress bar, just nothing. Trying the process again from scratch sometimes produced slightly different results - the 'ready' notation in the Hardware window would disappear for 5 seconds or so and then nothing again. I've RMA'ed several MT devices because I couldn't recover them. Others on the forums have these same exact experiences. What are we doing wrong??? What do we need to do differently? Is the correct NetInstall version an absolute requirement? ie: ROS 43.3 paired with NetInstall 43.3. If so this should be hilighted in BOLD.

For me, the latest episode was, again, during a routine ROS upgrade (Copied ROS v 43.3 to files section of device. Reboot. Bricked). I couldn't RMA this one - almost 2 years old, so I tried playing with NetInstall parameters again, and I came up with the scheme I posted which did work, although with a redundant step, as you explained.

A simple step by step explanation of what to do and WHY to do it would be helpful.

Your comments are appreciated. I'm learning, slowly but surely!

Regards,

Dave

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:28 pm
by 8cqv
I am also curious why the instructions say to set DNS and gateway to the PC - they are not used in a direct link like this.

I had a fight my AC2 the other day after a power problem during config change and so was using the Wiki, had a big struggle till discovered I still had another interface up on the host machine that was causing the problem. I was a bit confused by why the wiki says to use fictional DNS and gateway - seems to add more risk of creating a problem than it solves?

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:33 am
by NathanA
NetInstall could find my router. I selected the proper ROS version. Clicking INSTALL did nothing. No formatting - no progress bar, just nothing. Trying the process again from scratch sometimes produced slightly different results - the 'ready' notation in the Hardware window would disappear for 5 seconds or so and then nothing again.
`
I haven't tested this, but if in the past you made the incorrect assumption that the IP you specify in "Net Booting" has to match the computer's IP, then that might explain your symptoms. I believe that the Netinstall client (running on the router) doesn't actually know the IP address of the Netinstall server (your computer) and so sends out broadcast traffic to announce its presence, which is how Netinstall on the computer "finds" the router (it is just listening for broadcast traffic). But if the client and server both have the same address configured, then when the server starts sending commands and data back to the client, it's going to be unable to communicate with that client.

Actually, now that I think about it, that can't completely explain what you saw, since if you assigned the same IP to the client as to the server, then it would not have been possible for the client device to download and run the Netinstall client software/bootstrap from the server. I'll have to play around with things to figure out how exactly you might've been setting things up such that they broke down in this way.
`
Is the correct NetInstall version an absolute requirement? ie: ROS 43.3 paired with NetInstall 43.3. If so this should be hilighted in BOLD.
`
It isn't a hard and fast requirement that Netinstall version and RouterOS version you want to install have to match exactly, though it is recommended. You have no idea what might have changed about RouterOS architecture in between versions, and Netinstall has to make some assumptions. If something changes in a newer version of RouterOS that makes it so that it can't be installed with older versions of Netinstall, of course the most current version of Netinstall will have been updated to take that change into account. This is rare enough of an occurrence, though, that I usually don't have problems using older Netinstall to install newer RouterOS. But if something isn't working, then why wouldn't you take 2 minutes to download the latest version of Netinstall just to eliminate that as a potential variable?
`
I am also curious why the instructions say to set DNS and gateway to the PC - they are not used in a direct link like this.
`
Agreed, they aren't needed, and I also agree that instructing people to populate DNS and gateway fields probably only leads to further unnecessary confusion. They also can't hurt, though, and it can often be useful. For example, I do Netinstalls often enough from a computer that is already connected to another network and which has active TCP sessions (SSH sessions, Remote Desktop connections, etc.) that I don't want to terminate *just* so that I can perform a Netinstall. So I just leave my IP settings on my computer untouched and plug the router that needs to be Netinstalled into the same switch my computer is already plugged into. You do have to be careful to only run the Netinstall server's BOOTP server for the minimum amount of time (you don't want other computers on your LAN trying to get or renew an IP lease to get a response back from the Netinstall server), and you will also need to very briefly/temporarily shut the LAN's DHCP server off so that the Netinstall client doesn't get offered a lease from it before it hears from the Netinstall server, but other than those considerations, this works just fine.

-- Nathan

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:43 pm
by davidreaton
Thanks again, Nathan. I'm going to redo my simple instructions, eliminating the unneeded steps that have been pointed out. Then, I'll test it on a variety of MT devices. I'll post results and see if any of the previous anomalies occur.

Thanks to all for the help!

Regards,

Dave

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:28 pm
by davidreaton
I played with NetInstall for a couple hours, testing to see what was important, and what was not. My setup: Microsoft surface Pro with Ethernet dongle, RB951G. I downloaded ROS 6.40.9 and NetInstall 6.40.9, and also ROS 6.43.2 and NetInstall 6.43.2. I noted that, after unzipping, these 2 NetInstall files were significantly different in size.

Working with NetInstall 6.40.9 / ROS 6.40.9:
I followed the instructions below. Netinstall found my device. The 951 showed 'Ready' in the NetInstall window. I selected the proper ROS, clicked the INSTALL button. The 'Ready' notation disappeared, nothing else happened, and after about 5 seconds, the 'Ready' re-appeared. Clicked INSTALL button again, same result. I closed NetInstall. Ran NetInstall again. It remembered all the info, and my device showed 'Ready'. Clicked INSTALL - worked perfectly.

Working with NetInstall 6.40.9, but with ROS 6.43.2:
Followed instructions (below), and NetInstall 6.40.9 successfully downloaded ROS 6.43.2.

Working with NetInstall 6.43.2 and ROS 6.43.2:
NetInstall had some trouble finding my device, but when it finally did, it downloaded ROS 6.43.2 successfully.

What I learned:

1) There's a specific NetInstall for each ROS release. Although I successfully used a mismatched NetInstall/ROS pair, this is not recommended. There's a reason that NetInstall 6.43.2 is 8 MB bigger than NetInstall 6.40.9. I just don't know what that reason is.

2) Even when there's problems with NetInstall finding your device, or downloading ROS, keep trying. Re-run NetInstall, power down/up your device. Restart everything if necessary. This process is not robust, at least not for me.

Here's my new instruction list, based on helpful comments from others, and my experience.



Netinstall. These instructions worked for me, MOST of the time.

On laptop: Set ethernet port properties / IP4
IP address: 192.168.88.2
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Download latest ROS firmware and corresponding Netinstall. Note that there’s a different, updated NetInstall for each ROS release.
Turn off firewall
Run NetInstall. If it asks about ‘SmartScreen’, click run.
On NetInstall screen: Net Booting button– 192.168.88.3, Boot server enabled. This is the IP address that NetInstall will assign to your device, to allow communication.
Attach ethernet cable from computer to router eth 1
Hold reset button, plug in power, with for router to show up in Netinstall window. May take 30 seconds or more. If nothing shows up after a few minutes, close NetInstall, unplug power to device, and start again. Run NetInstall, confirm Net Booting information, hold reset button, power up.
On NetInstall screen, select your device.
Browse for ROS firmware to install
Select (check box) corresponding ROS package
Click install. You should see ‘formatting’ then a progress bar. If this does not work, close NetInstall. Run Netinstall, try again.
After completion, click reboot. If this option does not appear, do a paperclip reset of the router to load the default configuration
REMEMBER to turn your firewall back on.

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:48 pm
by idanmikos
Thank you, David!

Your step by step instructions worked perfectly for my new hAP mini.
Have tried hours to make Netinstall working, but there wasn't any RB showing up.
My fingers were painful for how many times (and minutes) I've been holding the reset button pressed.
Thank you again!👍

Dan

PS. For me wasn't necessary to change the Net booting IP. Apparently it was the windows 10 firewall which blocked netinstall.
My hAP mini became unusable after completely resetting it (removing all configuration), in order to use as repeater.
Unfortunately it lost its configuration after power off... and no more default configuration boot was possible. It was completely unreachable.
Now works again 😊

Re: NetInstall Instructions

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:38 pm
by amity2kare
Hi,

I've been working with mikrotik devices since 1998 and have done a lot of netinstalls. One thing I can say for sure and concur with the statements above, the process is a bit iff-ish. Since the last couple of months there have been a few devices I have tried to netinstall and it just won't work. I have tried with versions starting with 6.40.7 going up to 6.43.4. I have always matched the netinstall and routeros versions. I have tried with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Linux (Wine). I have disabled all services like firewalls etc on the PC, even performed a factory reset on the mikrotik but the router just won't get detected on the netinstall PC. On the other hand I have checked on the router (after boot-up) while netinstall is running on the PC and the PC indeed does show up in the neighbours as expected. The only reason I have been trying so hard is because over the past couple of years I have had client-side issues like intermittent high latency and packet loss, CPU usage spikes etc which persisted through version upgrades/downgrades but were resolved after netinstall. A few customers have even moved to other hardware like Huawei/Cisco due to this issue.

Regards

Amit