Running Mikrotik RouterOS x86 on GNS3

MikroTik RouterOS is the stand-alone operating system of MikroTik RouterBOARD hardware. It can also be installed on a PC and will turn it into a router with all the necessary features - routing, firewall, bandwidth, management, wireless access point, backhaul link, hotspot, gateway, VPN server and more.

The tutorial explains how to install RouterOS on Qemu virtual disk and configure GNS3 software to run such a router. Later, We will use GNS3 to a create simple testing topology with one RoutersOS router connected to emulated Cisco 3725 router.

You can download Mikrotik RouterOS x86 installed on Qemu and VirtualBox images in the Download section here.

Software Prerequisites

  • GNS3 with Qemu or VirtualBox support
  • Qemu or VirtualBox
  • RouterOS ISO image - mikrotik-6.37.5.iso

Virtual Machine Prerequisites

  • i386 compatible architecture
  • minimum 32MB of RAM (maximum supported 2GB)
  • minimum Hard Disk space 64MB
  • Network cards supported by linux v3.3.5 kernel (PCI, PCI-X)

RouterOS x86 Installation

1. Download RouterOS for x86 Architecture

$ wget

2. Create Qemu Virtual Disk and Start Virtual Machine

$ /usr/local/bin/qemu-img create -f qcow2 routeros-6.37.5.img 200M
$ /usr/local/bin/qemu-system-i386 -m 512 -enable-kvm -boot d -cdrom mikrotik-6.37.5.iso routeros-6.37.5.img

3. Install RouterOS

Use spacebar to select packages that are needed. Then press 'i' to install RouterOS.

Picture 1 - RouterOS Installation

Once RouterOS is installed, you have 24 hours to enter a license key to activate  RouterOS Qemu image. The timer stops if router is shutdowned. For this reason, we let GNS3 automatically create the copy of base Qemu image every time is a new RouterOS instance placed on the  GNS3 desktop. These independent copy of the base  image can be run for total 24 hours time period.

4. Start RouterOS Qemu Disk

After the disk is formatted and packages copied, start RouterOS instance with the command:

$ /usr/local/bin/qemu-system-i386 -m 512 -enable-kvm -boot c routeros-6.37.5.img -nographic -serial telnet::4444,server,nowait

You should be able to login to RouterOS with the telnet command:

$ telnet 4444

Username is admin without password set.

5. Connect Qemu image to GNS3

I assume that GNS3 is correctly installed and configured.

a) Start GNS3 and create a new GNS3 project


Picture 2 - Creating GNS3 New Project

b) Configure Qemu guest settings

Navigate to Edit -> Preferences -> Qemu -> Qemu Guest and configure parameters as it is shown on the picture below.


Picture 3 - Qemu Guest Settings

RouterOS  Configuration

1. Testing Topology

The topology consists of one RouterOS that connects two Microcore Qemu instances. As we want to test switching and VLANs, both Microcore instances are connected to RouterOS switvchport that are separated by VLANs - VLAN10 and VLAN20.

RouterOS's interface Ethernet1 si connected to Cisco 3725 router emulated by Dynamips. The port will be configured as a trunk port on RouterOS side and as a routed port with two sub-interfaces on Cisco's side.


Picture 4 - Testing Topology

2. Create Bridges for VLAN10 and VLAN20 and Assign Access Ports to Bridges

First, check available Ethernet interfaces.They are six Ethernet interfaces presented in RouterOS console in total.


Picture 5 - Router Ethernet Interfaces

We are going to create bridges br10 and br20 and assign interface Ethernet2 to the bridge br10 and Ethernet3 to br20.

[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge add name=br10
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge add name=br20
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge port add interface=ether2 bridge=br10
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge port add interface=ether3 bridge=br20

3. Configure Trunk Port to allow VLAN 10 and VLAN 20 and create Switched Virtual Interfaces - SVI10 and SVI20

[admin@MikroTik] > /interface vlan add vlan-id=10 name=SVI10 interface=ether1 disabled=no
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface vlan add vlan-id=20 name=SVI20 interface=ether1 disabled=no

Note:  the term SVI is used in a Cisco world, feel free to change it if you want.

4. Add SVI Ports to Bridges

[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge port add interface=SVI10 bridge=br10 disabled=no
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge port add interface=SVI20 bridge=br20 disabled=no


Picture 6 - Bridge Ports Configuration

5. Assign IP address to SVI Ports

This configuration ensures that intervlan routing betwwen VLAN 10 and VLAN20 can be done by RouterOS.

[admin@MikroTik] > /ip address add interface=SVI10 address= disabled=no
[admin@MikroTik] > /ip address add interface=SVI20 address= disabled=no

At this point you should be able to make successful ping between PC1 and PC2.

6. Set password and hostname

[admin@MikroTik] > /password new-password=admin
[admin@MikroTik] > /system identity set name=RouterOS-I

7. Static routing configuration

[admin@RouterOS-I] > /ip route add dst-address= gateway=


Picture 7 - Routing Table

End hosts PC1 and PC2 Configuration

End hosts are represent by Microcore Linux 3.8.2 installed on Qemu virtual disks. Ethernet interfaces configuration is stored in the file /opt/ that is started during the boot of Microcore. To save configuration changes, the script /usr/bin/ must be called with parameter -b.

tc@box:~$ sudo su
root@tc:# echo "ifconfig eth0 netmask up" >> /opt/
root@tc:# echo "hostname PC2" >> /opt/
root@tc:# echo "route add default gw" >> /opt/

root@tc:~# /opt/
root@PC1:~# /usr/bin/ -b

tc@box:~$ sudo su
root@tc:# echo "ifconfig eth0 netmask up" >> /opt/
root@tc:# echo "hostname PC2" >> /opt/
root@tc:# echo "route add default gw" >> /opt/

root@tc:~# /opt/
root@PC2:~# /usr/bin/ -b

Cisco 3725 Configuration

1. Router-on-the-stick Configuration

3725#conf t
3725(config)#interface fastEthernet 0/0
3725(config-if)#no shut

3725(config)#interface FastEthernet 0/0.10
3725(config-subif)#encapsulation dot1Q 10
3725(config-subif)#ip address
3725(config-subif)#no shutdown

3725(config-subif)#int fa0/0.20
3725(config-subif)#encapsulation dot1Q 20
3725(config-subif)#ip address
3725(config-subif)#no shutdown

2. Loopback configuration

725(config)#interface loopback 0
3725(config-if)#ip address
3725(config-if)#no shutdown

Testing Connectivity

1. Check if RouterOS does Packet Switching Between VLAN10 and VLAN20 Subnets

Issue the command ping on PC1 to test connectivity between PC1 and PC2.

Picture8-Ping_between VLANs

Picture 8 - RouterOS  InterVlan Routing

2. Check if VLAN Tagged Traffic is Transferred via Trunk Port

Ping from PC1 to Cisco 3725 router's IP address


Picture 9 - Ping from PC1 to Cisco 3725


Picture 10 - Captured Traffic on Cisco 3725 Interface FastEthernet0/0


RouterOS Basic Commands

RouterOS x86 Features

RouterOs Switching

RouterOS VLANs



10 thoughts on “Running Mikrotik RouterOS x86 on GNS3

  1. Hello Radovan Brezula,

    First off all great site with awsome content, keep it up!!!

    Is the use off QEmu really mandatory ? Why not just use Virtual Box / VMWare ?
    Or is there na advantage in using QEmu ?

    I just tried it on VMWARE and at first glance all seemed to work, the only thing I changed, was the disk from SCUSI to IDE. Even added na extra network card and it recognised it ?

    • Hi Jose,
      you can install and run RouterOS x86 on every emulator that can support x86 CPU. You can use Qemu, VirtualBox or VMware to do his job. The question is if we can use Qemu to virtualize RouterBoard with non x86 CPU, e.g. MIPS and run RouteOS on that VM.

  2. I have some issues, after I load 3 mikrotik quemu instances if I add any more, they will not be able to comunicate with anything?

    Also I cant seem to open the console in supper putty for more that 1 quemu instance of mikrotik

    • I have the same problem for windows7 or ubuntu14-04. Mikrotik image not able to connect
      mikrotik1 :::: /ip ad ad ::: ::: ether1
      mikrotik2 :::: /ip ad ad ::: ::: ether1
      then connect eth0 to eth0

  3. when i added my mikrotik router into gns3, it says your router doesnt have license key how should i add license key to this router

  4. hey bro,,,when i want mikrotic iso setup then show this msg,,,what i can do...any way...that's mean any software install...plz response

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