RouterOS is an operating system designed specifically for routers and network devices. Developed by the Latvian company MikroTik, it is used to turn standard x86-64 architecture computers or MikroTik's own RouterBOARD hardware into fully functional routers.

RouterOS provides all the core features expected in a router, such as routing, firewalling, bandwidth management, VPN support, and more. Here's a brief overview of some key features and aspects:

  1. Routing: Supports various routing protocols such as BGP, OSPF, RIP, and MPLS, allowing for robust and scalable network design.

  2. Firewall: RouterOS includes a powerful firewall to secure the network. It allows for filtering by IP address, port, protocol, and other parameters.

  3. Quality of Service (QoS): Bandwidth management is a strong feature in RouterOS, enabling administrators to prioritize certain types of traffic, limit bandwidth for specific users, or guarantee certain bandwidth levels for specific services.

  4. Virtual Private Network (VPN) Support: RouterOS supports various VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and SSTP, allowing secure connections to remote networks.

  5. Wireless Capabilities: It provides support for various wireless standards, making it suitable for creating Wi-Fi hotspots or linking locations wirelessly.

  6. User Management: RouterOS offers multiple user levels and authentication methods, such as local database, RADIUS, and more.

  7. Hotspot Gateway: It allows the setup of a custom user login page, authentication of users, and bandwidth limitation, particularly useful in public Wi-Fi scenarios like hotels, airports, etc.

  8. Winbox: RouterOS can be managed through Winbox, a GUI application provided by MikroTik, as well as through command line and web interfaces. Winbox enables an easy-to-use interface for configuring and monitoring the router.

  9. Scalability: Suitable for small home setups and also for large enterprise networks. It provides robust features that can be tailored to fit various network sizes and requirements.

  10. Licensing: RouterOS licensing is tiered, with higher-level licenses unlocking additional features. This allows users to choose the level that fits their specific needs and budget.

  11. Scripting: RouterOS includes a scripting language that lets administrators automate various functions and operations. Also SSL secured API available.

  12. Updates and Security: Regular updates are provided by MikroTik, including security patches and feature enhancements.

RouterOS makes a compelling choice for network professionals who need an affordable and highly configurable operating system for their routers. It can transform simple hardware into powerful network devices with an extensive range of features. Whether deployed in small businesses, large enterprises, or ISPs, RouterOS is a versatile solution to many networking needs.