FreeRTR Deep Dive on Software Gone Wild

This podcast introduction was written by Nick Buraglio, the host of today’s podcast.

In today’s evolving landscape of whitebox, brightbox, and software routing, a small but incredibly comprehensive routing platform called FreeRTR has quietly been evolving out of a research and education service provider network in Hungary. 

Kevin Myers of IPArchitechs brought this to my attention around March of 2019, at which point I went straight to work with it to see how far it could be pushed.

I will fully admit that my expectations were low, however, the incredibly rich list of protocol support was too much to be ignored. Boasting protocols such as RSVP-TE, SR, SR-TE, BIER, SRv6 – the list goes on – it was impossible to ignore. So, after almost 7 months of bartering for scheduling, I was finally able to pin down the author Csaba Mate for a one-on-one chat about the history, the motivations, and what lies ahead for this impressively strong open source routing platform. 


  1. Wow, what a diamond in the ruff! This is an excellent piece of software. Finally one image for all the protocols you'll ever need, and with a low memory footprint to boot. At first I started labbing with c2600 hardware.. then moved to dymamips, then iou, then the various iOSv xr and xe images and now freertr. Although I have not tried frr yet, I think I will have to give both freertr and frr some more attention.

    I wonder if anyone else besides the author of this software has or will run freertr on production and see if the results of dpdk hold out.

    Thank you for this gem!

  2. @Mario, I'm running at my homenet described here. And you are right, freeRtr is a masterpiece that combined with dpdk provide me a tremendous 6x1GE router.

    I'm using (sadly because of COVID-19) everyday, and it is rock solid. Having BGP v4/v6, Gretap for WIFI NAC, cherry on the cake UPNP forwarding !

    As a side notes, GEANT RARE project aims propose a routing platform that can fit R&E use case. (nx100 MPLS LSR for example, or BNG) More information can be found here and a gentle introduction to the RARE project here

    We are also trying to write a comprehensive documentation here

  3. Hey! Really happy with our FreeRTR deployment in Murcia. To be honest, I didn't yet find a capability needed that is not already on the package.

    Anyone that wants feedback on the deployment in Murcia just let me know, we will be happy to help.

  4. Pretty amazing stuff Csaba did there (modulo maybe missing netconf AFAIR ;-) We colab'ed on couple things like BGP update compression and BIER and his stuff has been rock-solid every single time.

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