I am trying to get my employer to purchase MikroTik stuff and we are a Cisco shop. We would have never even considered them if it were not for the dude. I guarantee they would grow their user base much quicker if The Dude was treated as important.
Like Lebowski, the Dude is also the only reason I even know about Mikrotik and use their products. When I started my WISP I began using non-Mikrotik radios and routers. After I had my initial network built out I Googled "free wireless network monitor software" and the Dude came up in the first few results. I used the Dude for quite awhile before I even realized Mikrotik made hardware and ROS. Then one day I clicked the little banner ad at the top of the Dude and was blown away by what products I saw they had to offer. I've been using Mikrotik in my WISP ever since.
I used to use a lot more Mikrotik products, but these days I'm only using Mikrotik as core routers and am using Ubiquiti for my APs and CPEs and am eagerly awaiting AirControl to replace the Dude because I know it will integrate better with the network map of my Ubiquiti CPEs and APs (I like that it offers bulk updates and changes to configs and better display of information and statistics than the Dude). Ubiquiti has the right idea of integrating everything together and making themselves a "one stop shop" for monitoring, CPEs, APs, antennas, and routers. However, I DO NOT like Ubiquiti routers and their clumsy web interface style management of devices. Mikrotik is much better in every way with their router GUI (WinBox) and OS capabilities (RouterOS). I still see myself using Mikrotik as my core routers for a very long time because they are much more powerful than anything else and there's no way Ubiquiti could ever catch up with the amount of features and years of development put into ROS.
However, if Mikrotik were the "one stop shop" for CPEs, APs, antennas, monitoring, and routers then I would see myself being 100% Mikrotik instead of only 5%. It's too late for me to turn back and start using Mikrotik APs and CPEs because I have recently invested over $100,000 to change my network over to Ubiquiti CPEs and APs because I feel more confident investing my money with them. They seem like a more WISP-oriented company that has a fast product development lifecycle for hardware and software. They also simply offer more products (many different CPE models on several frequencies, modular AP and antenna combos, and a bunch of other junk that I'm not really interested in, but still seems interesting). Mikrotik seems like they are mainly only interested in core routers and SOHO routers.
I think Mikrotik underestimates the desire their customers have to do business with one manufacturer. It simplifies things very greatly at my company when 95% of the products I have deployed are from a single manufacturer. Ordering products is easier, RMAing products is easier, updating products is easier, compatibility is easier, and integration is absolutely fantastic. If Mikrotik had a strong selection of APs, antennas, a variety of CPEs, routers, and a great network monitor then I would be 100% Mikrotik and order 20 times more products from them. As it is they really only make great routers and I'm left looking for the remaining products elsewhere.
Well, actually I could see my company building APs again with Routerboards and trying out their SXT CPEs and then possibly looking for a good dual polarity antenna manufacturer, but that still leaves me wanting a good network monitor. The lack of a good network monitor is really the main problem here. A couple of years ago I was in the process of changing over all my towers and CPEs to Mikrotik gear. I had built several APs at a few of my different towers and was in the process of making a list of parts to order for building Mikrotik CPEs. At the time Mikrotik didn't offer prebuilt CPEs and the task of building CPEs ourselves seemed rather unattractive. That combined with the fact that the Dude v4 never got out of beta and was not updated in several months made me rather frustrated with Mikrotik and is why I started looking elsewhere. My dissatisfaction with the Dude is really what drove me away form Mikrotik. The bugs and lack of care for and attention to one of their IMHO greatest products (second to ROS) made me lose confidence in Mikrotik. One major example of frustration that jumps out at me is the ACK bug that has been in the Dude since sometime in v3 (device goes down and shows red > you ACK it and it shows blue > device comes back up and shows green > device goes back down and immediately auto ACKs? and shows blue and doesn't give you any notification it ever went down). We had very big problems with not knowing when some of our devices were down. This makes customers very mad. Mikrotik just seemed like they didn't care about this bug and any further development of the Dude. It made me uncomfortable to invest money with a company that would just decide to abandon one of their products. So, I asked myself, "Do I really want to convert my network to 100% Mikrotik and risk them abandoning one of their products or leaving a bug in their software that might make my customers mad? Since Mikrotik abandoned the Dude does that mean that they are having internal problems and are maybe going out of business?". I didn't know for sure, so of course I decided against Mikrotik and invested my money with a company like Ubiquiti that seemed more active in developing products. It's very ironic that Mikrotik is reluctant to further develop the Dude because it would cost them money or resources for programmers. I think Mikrotik is actually losing more money by not developing the Dude. Truthfully, I would have a 100% Mikrotik network today if the abandonment of the Dude had never happened.
So, basically if the Dude would have been properly developed and maintained I would have never had any reason to look elsewhere for other products. In my searching for a Dude replacement I discovered Ubiquiti was developing AirControl and saw how well it integrated with their APs and CPEs. After looking at the rest of their product selection I got the impression that Ubiquiti was a company I wanted to do business with and this is where I am today. Sometimes it's the smallest thing a company does (or doesn't do in Mikrotik's case) that causes them to gain or lose customers. In a perfect world I would love it if Mikrotik made modular APs, antennas, a variety of CPEs and modular APs on different bands (900MHz/2GHz/3GHz/5GHz etc.), the awesome routers they make today, and an updated version of the Dude. I would do all of my business with Mikrotik if they were a company like that.
I do still use the Dude (and reluctantly work around it's bugs), but I don't really trust it or use it for any serious monitoring. I am still awaiting the new AirControl and will continue to use the Dude until then. If AirControl doesn't meet my expectations then I guess I will continue looking for a better network monitor. I have tried several different network monitors over the last couple of years, and I haven't liked ANY as well as I like the Dude. If it weren't for a few bugs and the lack of a few features it really would be the PERFECT network monitor for a WISP. I am very sad to leave the Dude. I really don't want to, but I have no choice.
In closing, please dedicate resources to the Dude. It would make the prospect of using other Mikrotik products much more attractive! I would even pay for it!!!!!
I love the Dude!
PS Please make a router like the RB/750UP with more PoE out ports. An RB/1200 or RB/1100AH with PoE out on it's ports would be amazing.