canopy vs. mikrotik?

just wondering what some of you guys thought the pros and cons of using canopy vs. mikrotik hardware is.

Canopy may be more expensive but it’s the way to go if you want to save yourself a lot of headaches in the future. The 802.11 standard was not designed to support long range PTMP communications. It may work fine if you have a very low noise floor and 10 customers. If you want a truly reliable, robust, and streamline solution just use Canopy.

I’m totally agree that canopy is very stable! I used Mikrotik for half year! I was very happy, when I replaced last Mikrotik to Canopy!

As router and other stuff, except wireless, Mikrotik is very good!

It’s just like keefe007, any 802.11 stuff is going to be very irritating in a PTMP ISP scenario without significant work. (One vendor I can think of that has made this effort is SkyPilot, who offer a GPS-synced/timed 802.11a OFDM derivative)

Cons of 802.11:
- communication relies on CSMA/CA, so if several CPEs cannot hear each other they WILL create collisions
- hardly any equipment is timed, so all of the APs will interfere with each other on some level
- 2.4 GHz WiFi spectrum is limited to 3 channels, and due to the above you cannot have back-to-back deployments like in a 6-sector Canopy array
- 802.11 is not noise tolerant and requires a large SNR to operate
- 802.11 does not transmit all the time so throughput can be unpredictable, as well it is difficult from a spectrum analysis to tell if anything is there.
- Hardware is typically cheap, some problems might only be solvable with equipment replacement, or lifetime may be quite short

Pros of 802.11:
- It’s cheap
- Elementary to tell is someone’s WiFi router is causing interference
- It’s cheap
- One can sniff the air for problems with no equipment other than a laptop w/ built-in wifi card (handy if some client is pumping out garbage but the AP isn’t sending it out the ethernet port)
- It’s cheap

Cons of Canopy:
- Sure ain’t cheap…
- Vendor lock-in
- EMS support is varied: build your own or use Prizm
- Prizm is like Alice’s trip to Wonderland
- Speeds are sort of low
- "Who forgot to order power supplies for these SMs?"

Pros of Canopy:
- Extremely stable
- Only 900 MHz that works worth anything
- Solid support for access controls and limitations (like bandwidth) on CPEs
- Deals with all of the cons of 802.11
- If you’ve been a member here since April 2008 I’m sure you can fill in the rest of this section :slight_smile:

I’m a Mikrotik and Canopy enthusiast. We use both but for different things and both are great choices.

I think that Canopy is great for RF aspects. Well, it’s true… a single AP can only manage 7 Mbps (or 14 with lot of limitation) of aggregate bandwidth… it’s really low compared to 54 Mbps of 802.11 but…

1) the band capacity is nearly real… you can count on it
2) you can efficiently have more than 100 CPE connected to a single AP (while 20-30 in 802.11)
3) a 3db SNR is enough to establish a PTMP link (compared to 10 of typical 802.11 systems)
4) you have very useful hardware tools to measure a link quality (aiming tone, rssi, jitter, …)
5) AP synch is great for serious RF planning, allowing AP coordination locally or remotely by using GPS
6) rejection to noise and interference is great
7) regulations complaint (in Europe we have restrictions like FDS & TPC)

now the bad of Canopy:
1) price (it costs too much, especially AP = same hardware than SM). Not convenient to implement for micro pops
2) no way to set any SM level autentication without using Prizm
3) very poor networking features (routing, natting, PPPoE only released on the last release, PPTP over NAT was impossible until release 9, …)

Mikrotik is really flexible and great for networking:
1) lot of state of the art features, protocols, controls, programmability, etc.
2) very cheap
3) well documented
4) stable and fast OS (RouterOS)
5) lot of work in progress for new features… MT guys are very available supporting and solving bugs (Moto is not so responsive unfortunately)
6) lot of radio modules supported

In fact I use Canopy for general PTMP distribution and MT for backhauling, core routing and few PTMP micro pops.

wow i was really misinformed.

someone was telling me mikrotik routerboards could do 900mhz and 2.4 ghz in the same way canopy does ‘basically’. not 802.11 at all…

Mikrotik is basically 802.11 with some added polling features to try to mitigate hidden node issues and other pitfalls of the standard 802.11 design.

There was a lengthy and heated debate on Motorola’s WISPA list on the 802.11 vs Canopy argument. There are some ISPs that have been very successful at deploying 802.11 and there are certainly a ton of us using Canopy that have been very successful.

We moved away from our 802.11 system a few years ago. The phone calls and headaches decreased significantly while our reliability and throughput increased significantly. We’re not looking back, but YMMV.