The Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X or ER-X is one of the most affordable routers/ firewalls available on the market. It is based on a MediaTek MT7621 SoC containing a 880 MHz MIPS 1004KEc dual-core CPU, an embedded 5-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, and a variety of connectivity options including RGMII, PCIe, USB, SD-XC (not all of these features are present on the ER-X.) This platform is popular on the wireless router market with offerings from most of the major players in the segment, like Netgear, ASUS, TP-Link, D-Link, Buffalo, etc.
In our new series on STH, we are going to start with some of the smaller router and firewalls then move up to higher-end devices. We are starting with this popular lower-cost option.
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X Hardware Overview
The device measures 110 x 75 x 22 mm (4.33 x 2.95 x 0.87″), weighs 175 g (6.17 oz) and has a maximum power consumption of 5W. Power can be provided either by included DC power adapter (12VDC, 0.5A) or 24V Passive PoE. The MediaTek MT7621 SoC in this device is coupled with 256MB of DDR3 RAM and 256MB of NAND storage.
Unlike many players on the consumer market, Ubiquiti went with an all-metal, clean, minimalistic design. The front of the device has space for five (5) Gigabit Ethernet ports including one (1) PoE IN and one (1) PoE OUT.
Please note “Passive” PoE is not part of 802.3af or 802.3at standards. While ER-X will work with most of Ubiquiti PoE devices, we encourage users to read ER-X QSG to get a better idea of requirements and limitations with respect to voltage and available power budget.
At the top of the device, one can find status LEDs for power and Ethernet ports activity. These LEDs are not next to the ports themselves which makes them slightly harder to read, especially since they are at the other end of the chassis.
At the back, one can see a 12V DC Input, ground connector, and a reset button.
This is a relatively simple device so the hardware is simple accordingly. We do really like the ability to use 12V DC input or PoE In to power the device since that gives a lot of flexibility.
EdgeRouter X Management
EdgeOS is the default firmware for EdgeRouter X, which is a full-featured specialized Linux OS, with support for advanced routing protocols, as well as various services like DNS and DHCP server, Firewall, DPI, VPN and QoS. The underlining Linux distribution for EdgeOS is Debian, so users can customize EdgeOS by installing additional packages using Debian repositories. Ubiquiti provides a choice of 2 major versions:
- EdgeOS firmware release v2.x.x uses Debian 9 (Stretch)
- EdgeOS firmware release v1.x.x uses Debian 7 (Wheezy)
Note: Early releases of v2 firmware had a number of stability and performance issues. As of the date of this review according to release notes, v2 firmware still has performance degradation. According to release notes the latest v2 firmware has up to 10% lower throughput compared to v1. For that reason for this review, the EdgeRouter was updated to the latest v1 version of the firmware.
EdgeOS has a fast web-based interface offering easy access to most of the device functionality with just a few clicks of a mouse. The dashboard provides an overview of the health, system utilization, alerts, and quick access to interfaces and service configuration.
A lot of new users will appreciate a set of wizards available to assist with device and feature level configuration. By default, EdgeOS has several pre-installed wizards that will guide users through the first time setup for various common deployment scenarios. Additional wizards are available from the Ubiquiti community through a simple registration and sign up. Users can also create their own wizards to help automate common tasks.
Another option for EdgeOS configuration and management is CLI. The structure and hierarchy of configuration nodes may look familiar to many Cisco and Juniper users. The CLI interface can be accessed either through the web-based console of the web management interface, ssh (enabled by default), or telnet (disabled by default).
Finally, all configuration nodes available for CLI can also be accessed through the “Config tree” tab of the web interface, offering a somewhat hybrid approach by allowing users to browse through the entire configuration.
That is actually a really nice feature that many competitive products do not offer, especially in this price range.
EdgeRouter X Performance
The EdgeRouter X is based on the MediaTek MT7621 SoC which includes a VLAN aware five (5) port Gigabit Ethernet switch and hardware-based acceleration for some of the router features like NAT, Bridging, IPSec, GRE. So when it comes to routing performance, according to the manufacturer’s, the EdgeRouter X is capable of delivering 1Gbps/80kpps for 1518 bytes packets and 957Mbps/1400kpps for 64 bytes packets.
These are great numbers, but it is worth mentioning that such performance can be reached only for a particular system configuration. For example Firewall, QoS, Netflow, DHCP snooping, and Interface bonding should be disabled in order to achieve such high numbers. In addition, there are certain limitations on a number of flows you can have.
Test Bench Setup
Our testing bench is based on a Cisco T-Rex project which in turn is based on the DPDK framework which we are going to cover in future articles and consists of:
|Host||Dell Precision 7920|
|CPU||(2) x Gold 6134 CPUs 16 cores/32 threads x 3.19 GHz|
|RAM||128GB: 8*16GB DDR4-2133P|
|Host OS||VMware ESXi 6.7U3|
|Guest||Debian 10. 4 vCPUs 32GB RAM|
|Network||Intel I350-AM4 in PCI Passthrough mode|
Gigabit router with advanced network management and security functionality.
Ubiquiti introduces the EdgeRouter™ X, part of the EdgeMAX® platform. The EdgeRouter X combines carrier‑class reliability with excellent price‑to‑performance value in an ultra‑compact form factor. The ER-X, can be powered by an external power adapter or 24V passive PoE input. A passive PoE passthrough option* is available to support a single airMAX® device*
- Sophisticated Routing Features
- Advanced Security, Monitoring, and Management
- High-Performance Gigabit Ports
*Requires 24V passive PoE or a 12W minimum power adapter (not included).
|Dimensions||110 x 75 x 22 mm (4.33 x 2.95 x 0.87")|
|Weight||175 g (6.17 oz)|
|Max. Power Consumption||5W|
|Power Input||12VDC, 0.5A Power Adapter (Included) or 24V Passive PoE|
|Power Supply||External AC/DC Adapter|
|Supported Voltage Range||9 to 26VDC|
|LEDs||Power, Ethernet 0-4|
|Processor||Dual-Core 880 MHz, MIPS1004Kc|
|Memory||256 MB DDR3 RAM|
|Code Storage||256 MB NAND|
|Certifications||CE, FCC, IC|
|Operating Temperature||-10 to 45° C (14 to 113° F)|
|Operating Humidity||10 to 90% Noncondensing|
|Data/PoE Input Port||(1) 10/100/1000 RJ45 Port|
|Data Port||(3) 10/100/1000 RJ45 Ports|
|Data/PoE Passthrough Port||(1) 10/100/1000 RJ45 Port|