Sep 01

New home server working as a wifi AP and DHCP server

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

At the beginning of August I’ve received a new home server, I decided to stop my old HP ML110 G5 and substitute that by a new silent and low power server also based on Intel technologies in this case it’s al i5 with 8G of RAM and 128GB of SSD for less than 300€ including custom costs I think it’s a very good investment.



I installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server, I don’t tried de Win10 pre-installed. I happy to see a very new and powerful BIOS with tons of options. But in this blog entry I want to explain how to set-up the wifi card as a wifi AP. I didn’t have to do anything to configure the card. It worked by default.

Ralink corp. RT3090 Wireless 802.11n 1T/1R PCIe

The first thing is check if the wifi network is compatible with the AP mode.

iw list
Supported interface modes:
         * IBSS
         * managed
         * AP
         * AP/VLAN
         * monitor
         * mesh point

Next thing is install the “hostapd” which is going to take care to set-up the AP. The configuration file have to be something like that “/etc/hostapd/hostpad.conf

interface=wlan0   # change that with the wifi interface name
ssid=test         # your wifi network name
channel=1         # look up for a free channel
wpa_passphrase=1234567890   # passwor to join the wifi network

Modify “/etc/default/hostapd” and put that:


Start the hostapd service:

sudo service hostapd start

Now the AP is running but a DHCP service giving IPs it’s need, I used “isc-dhcp-server”. First thing to configure is “/etc/default/isc-dhcp-server” with the wireless network name:


Next file to be configured is “/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf”:

ddns-update-style none;
log-facility local7;

subnet netmask {
    option domain-name-servers;
    option routers;

Don’t forget to start the service:

sudo service isc-dhcp-server start

If it’s needed remember to create the proper iptables rules and enable “ip_forward” in /proc filesystem. I’m not going to describe that because in my case it’s not going to be useful.

This is not a specially interesting post entry but useful as a reference, when you have to use a fast and easy cookbook to setup a wifi AP.

Aug 29

Internet fail over connection with Mikrotik

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Based on my home configuration I’m going to describe how to set up a Mikrotik to manage fail over Internet connection. Next schema describes a Mikrotik gateway with two internet connections (GUIFI and SS). Assuming GUIFI as a default Internet connection periodic checks on Google DNSes ( and will allow to know when it’s good to change the default route.


If you have some Linux routing background it will be easier to understand the configuration. Main idea is use policy routing tables and mark packets to use one table or other. In my case I have two routing tables GUIFI and SS, and of course, the default gateway of each of those tables is the gateway indicated in the schema.

First step is take care about the routes for hosts to monitor; using GUIFI connection will be checking connectivity to and using SS the monitored host will be

/ip route
add dst-address= gateway= scope=10
add dst-address= gateway= scope=10

Second step is configure two routing tables, those routes will check Internet hosts availability. Routes are resolved recursively (more info), and will be active only if any host is pingable.

# routing table for GUIFI
/ip route
add distance=1 gateway= routing-mark=GUIFI check-gateway=ping
add distance=2 gateway= routing-mark=GUIFI check-gateway=ping
# routing table for SS
/ip route
add distance=1 gateway= routing-mark=SS check-gateway=ping
add distance=2 gateway= routing-mark=SS check-gateway=ping

Routing table looks like that:


Next step will be create marking rules in the firewall:

# next rule mark all LAN traffic ( before routing
# it'll be processed by routing table GUIFI
# it makes GUIFI the default Internet connection 
/ip firewall mangle
add action=mark-routing chain=prerouting comment="All LAN traffic" dst-address=\
    ! new-routing-mark=GUIFI passthrough=no src-address=

If any specific host, service or whatever want to use specific routing table, then you can create new rules with proper mark to redirect the traffic to that Internet connection. But if that path fails other Internet connection will be used.

In my case I have a more complicated scenario, internal VoIP server uses a IP Telephony service only available through GUIFI connection. The way to force that is forbidding traffic to SS connection. A simple firewall rule will help to do that:

# X.X.X.X = IP address of the IP telephony provider
/ip firewall filter
add action=reject chain=forward dst-address=X.X.X.X in-interface=\
    bridge-lan out-interface=SS-eth2

I hope previous simple notes are useful for you, they are inspired by Advanced Routing Failover without Scripting.

Aug 22

OpenVPN between pfSense and Mikrotik

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

vpn-pfsense-mikrotik-schemaAssuming previous scenario I’m going to describe the required configurations on pfSense and Mikrotik. Certifcate creation is not part of the scope of this document, if you are not familiar about how to do that it’s a good idea to use the pfSense certificate manager to do it. My last advice is take care with certificates 90% of problems that I found in my life when I was working on VPNs are because of that. Take your time to check it before spend your time playing with other configurations.

In that scenario pfSense will play the role of the VPN server and Mikrotik will be the client, so I’m going to start describing pfSense configurations.

Create OpenVPN server on proper section:



Important things to take in account when you set up the parameters are socket has to be a TCP socket in my case I decided to use port 1201:

pfsense-openvpn-server-configNext settings on the same place are about local network and tunnel IP addresses, this is required to create proper routing rules on the server and the client.



Last part to configure on this sections is extremly simple, only take care to unmark everything and check “address pool” setting.



Remember to open that port on Firewall rules.



A VPN user is required to authenticate the process, just go to “User Management” inside the “System” menu:



pfSense is configured, now it’s time to set-up the OpenVPN client on Mikrotik using Winbox. Remember to import the certificates:



Click on “PPP” this on the left menu:



Add an OVPN Client connection using the “+” button, the parameters for that connection are:



Another required thing to define on “PPP” is the profile, click on the tab “Profile” and using the button with symbol “+” create a new profile like that:



Everything is ready, now it’s time to check if the connection is OK. First go to the OVPN client on Mikrotik, remember this is on “PPP” menu option and inside tab “Interfaces”. Clicking on the interface you’ll see the status details. If it’s disconnect going to pfSense or Mikrotik logs you can see the negotiation details.

Remember usually the problem is with your certificates, but first of all you have to ensure that the negotiation tries to start.

Enjoy it and good luck.


Aug 15

Sniffing on Mikrotik and streaming in real-time to Wireshark

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

When you have a Mikrotik in any point of your network and you want to launch a sniffer for debugging or troubleshooting, a part from original RouterOS tools, you can stream captured traffic in real-time to Wireshark and inspect packets there.

The idea is exactly the same like I explained on the entry: Sniffing traffic in a Linux box and streaming in real-time to Wireshark on Windows.

Mikrotik configuration using the web interface is like that:


We assume is the IP address of the Wireshark box, ensure that you don’t block UDP traffic on port 37008 because the stream from Mikrotik uses that target port. And define your own filters.

About Wireshark configuration is really simple, just set up the filter to allow only traffic from sniffing stream and select the network interface where traffic comes.


Previous captures allow us to debug DNS queries to Google DNS service, this is the result when you click to the icon marked with a red circle on previous screen capture.


Jul 27

Mikrotik as a PPTP server for Android

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Two years ago I installed a Mikrotik Cloud Switch and lately I stoped my pfSense and I started using that switch as my network router, firewall and also as a switch. RouterOS is really powerful and allows to do a lot of things with that hardware. One of those things is set-up a VPN server based on PPTP. This is not the most secure way to create VPNs but usually the only requirement is a little bit of security on top of an IP over IP service that allows us to use local service when we’re in remote. In my case I have a lot of services in my LAN and I need some of them when I’m out of home specially I need to use them from my mobile phone.

Next steps describe how I set-up a PPTP server on my Mikrotik server allowing my Android 6 device (Huawei Mate 8) to connect to my home services through the VPN. Bellow you have a simple schema representing the schenario of the solution:


I’m only going to describe steps from the web console, of course, all those steps can be done using Winbox or the command line. To be honest I’m not used to RouterOS CLI but I think it’s not difficult to figure out the CLI commands to get the same result.

First step is set-up a pool of IP addresses to be assigned to the tunnel endpoints.



Thanks to an ARP proxy those IP addresses will be available like local IPs, this is transparent for the VPN configuration.


configuration of connection profile is done inside “Profiles” tab:


first of all create a new profile called “default-encription”:


and another profile called “pptp-profile”:


“Secrets” tab is where you have to manage users, in my case only two users are created:


configuration details about my user are:


Inside PPP menu there is a button with a label “PPTP server” click there…


… and copy next settings:


Don’t forget to check that your PPTP port is accessible from your public IP address. Remember it’s 1723/TCP.

Android configuration is simple, first of all go to “settings” icon. Look for a “More” section bellow network options, and you’ll find VPN managment. Add a new connection, define a name, the type and the IP address and leave the rest by default. After that when you come back to VPN list you’ll find your new VPN in the list, click there and just set-up your PPTP credentials.


If you have some trouble the only thing that you can do is go to Mikrotik logs or start sniffing to figure out where is the problem. I had to do some tests before it was working but in the end everything was so simple like I explained here.

Good luck and enjoy it.

Thanks to next blog entries to inspire me:



Feb 09

pfSense: unlock SSH

Reading time: < 1 minute After several tries without success to pfSense's SSH server the port is blocked by a service called "sshlockout". If you need to unblock the SSH service run the command from shell:

pfctl -t sshlockout -T flush

In the end that command only removes the rules in table “sshlockout” in firewall entries.

Jan 29

Routerboard CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN (Mikrotik) Cloud Switch

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I bought this product a few weeks ago and finally I can enjoy it at home. With this product you have a firewall, gateway, switch and wireless box with:

  • 25x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1x Fiber channel
  • 3G, 4G or any optional USB modem
  • With RouterOS inside you can manage: gateway, firewall, VPN and ad-hoc switching and routing configurations
  • 1000mW high power 2.4GHz 11n wireless AP


The official product page is here where you can find brochure in PDF and other useful information.

If you are looking for a powerful product for your SOHO network this is the solution as I like to say ‘this is one of the best communications servers’. It will be very difficult to find some feature or functionality that you can not get from this product. The product is robust and stable with the flexibility of RouterOS.

Aug 28

Technitium MAC Address Changer

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I just want to share with you a small and powerful Windows tool I found in my last trip to US. The best feature IMHO is that permits to change the MAC address of your NIC interface without rebooting, safely and fast. It could be useful when you have a limit time to connect to internet in a free Wi-Fi network; after changing your MAC address you should be like a new device. If you have to do something like this, remember to remove the browser cookies.

Other interesting features of this tool is network presets. You can change your NIC settings very fast just changing a preset profile. As you can see in next screenshot it has a simple chart of your real time network traffic. And finally I want to stand out you can see all your network devices configuration very fast.

technitium MAC address changer screenshot

Technitium MAC Address Changer home page.

Nov 16

Postfix autenticació amb sasldb

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Quatre notes que tinc pendents de classificar, com donar suport d’autenticació a postfix de forma ràpida i senzilla.

Paquets que cal tenir a més del postfix: cyrus-sasl, cyrus-sasl-md5.

Línies que cal tenir al /etc/postfix/

smtpd_sasl_application_name = smtpd
smtpd_sasl_type = cyrus
smtpd_sasl_path = sasl2/smtpd.conf
smtpd_sasl_local_domain =
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated, permit_mynetworks, reject_unauth_destination

Fitxer de configuració del servei d’autenticació /etc/sasl2/smtpd.conf:

pwcheck_method: auxprop
auxprop_plugin: sasldb

Assegurar-se que el propietari del fitxer /etc/sasldb2 és postfix.

El fitxer /etc/sasldb2 és una base de dades Berkeley DB que guarda els usuaris i les seves paraules de pas en text pla. Així doncs, no és molt segur però una solució més que suficient per molts entorns SOHO.

Gestió d’usuaris:

# afegir usuari
saslpasswd2 -a smtpd -u nom_usuari

# borrar usuari
saslpasswd2 -d -u nom_usuari

# llistar usuaris

La configuració que heu de posar al MUA pel que fa al servidor de correu ha de ser del tipus:

pass: el que hagiu definit
mecanisme d'autenticació suportats:  PLAIN LOGIN CRAM-MD5 DIGEST-MD5 NTLM

UPDATE 27/2/2012:

Perquè es pugui tenir accés al fitxer /etc/sasldb2 cal que el mòdul smtpd de postfix no es llenci com a chroot. Per evitar això cal modificar el fitxer /etc/postfix/ concretament la línia del dimoni smtpd ha de quedar així:

smtp      inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd

Per tenir suport de SASL a Ubuntu Lucid cal instal·lar els paquets: sasl2-binlibsasl2-modules.

Jan 12

clearOS Enterprise

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

clearOS logoAbans de marxar de vacances tot parlant amb el Carles vaig descobrir el clearOS i després d’un parell de dies fent-hi proves esporàdiques no volia deixar l’oportunitat d’escriure quatre ratlles sobre el que m’ha semblat.

Es tracta d’una distribució de linux especialment orientada a petites empreses amb pocs servidors, malgrat per algunes mitjanes empreses també crec que estaria ben indicada. Basada en Redhat/CentOS i totalment focalitzada a ser usada via una interficie web força amigable.

Incorpora diverses eines sempre gestionables desde web que permeten fer funcions de servidor de xarxa i/o de gateway de comunicacions. Per exemple:

  • funcions de directori
    • LDAP amb usuaris i passwords integrats per la resta de serveis
    • gestor de certificats de seguretat
  • funcions de xarxa
    • multi-wan
    • VPN, PPTP, IPSec, OpenVPN
    • DMZ i NAT 1-1
    • funcions de firewall
    • servidor DHCP i DNS
    • UPnP
  • funcions de gateway
    • antimalware: antivirus, antiphing i antispyware
    • antispam
    • gestor d’ampla de banda
    • detector d’intrusions
    • filtres de protocols, fins hi tot P2P
    • filtres de continguts
    • web proxy
    • control d’accés
  • funcions de servidor
    • Windows Networking com a PDC
    • serveis de fitxers i impresores
    • flexshares (diverses formes de compartir fitxers: SMB, FTP, Web, etc)
    • groupware i connector d’outlook
    • servidors de correu: POP, IMAP, SMTP, Webmail i recollida de correu
    • filtres de correu: antispam, antimalware, greylisting i quarantena
    • arxivador automàtic de correu
    • gestor de bbdd MySQL
    • servidor web amb PHP

A més al estar orientat a un entorn professional l’empresa que desenvolupa clearOS disposa d’un servei anomenat clearSDN, a través del qual es pot obtenir:

  • Software Updates Priority security and bug updates to the ClearOS software.
  • Content Updates Required updates to Content Filter, Intrusion Protection, Antispam and Antimalware.
  • Monitoring Alarms and reporting for bandwidth, resource and security management.
  • Remote Services Critical services for VPN, DNS and Remote Server Backup.

Fins hi tot tenen uns dispositius anomenats clearBOX que porten el sistema operatiu integrat i ja disposen d’uns quants ports ethernet, ideals per fer de gateway o fins hi tot de switch.

Com no podia ser d’altre forma tot plegat té un bon manual de suport pels usuaris més novells, ja que només amb una mica d’experiència en l’administració de sistemes tot plegat es fa molt intuitiu.

En general m’ha quedat un bon gust de boca pel que fa a l’eina, potser on més he trobat que coixeja el sistema és en detalls de configuració més avançats, per exemple, del servidor d’OpenVPN i cosetes similars. Però per empreses petites i mitjanes com ja deia abans és més que suficient en la majoria de casos.