MikroTik is a popular brand of network routers and software used by many IT professionals and network administrators for building and managing complex networks. Load balancing is a crucial aspect of network management, ensuring efficient distribution of traffic across multiple links. In this article, we’ll explore three load balancing techniques offered by MikroTik: Equal Cost Multipath (ECMP), Per Connection Classifier (PCC), and Nth Load Balancing, discussing their advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Equal Cost Multipath (ECMP)

ECMP is a load balancing technique that evenly distributes traffic across multiple equal-cost paths. It’s based on routing protocols that support load balancing, such as BGP, OSPF, or static routes with equal metrics. Here are some pros and cons of ECMP:


  • Efficient Utilization: ECMP ensures optimal utilization of available links, reducing congestion and improving network performance.
  • Resilience: If one link fails, traffic is automatically rerouted through the remaining available links.
  • Easy to Set Up: Setting up ECMP in MikroTik is relatively straightforward, especially when using routing protocols.


  • Complexity: Managing and troubleshooting ECMP can be challenging, especially in networks with many links and dynamic routing.
  • Limited Control: ECMP may not provide fine-grained control over traffic distribution based on specific criteria.
  1. Per Connection Classifier (PCC)

PCC is a MikroTik-specific load balancing method that distributes traffic based on a hash value generated from the connection’s source and destination IP addresses and ports. Here are the pros and cons of PCC:


  • Granular Control: PCC allows you to balance traffic based on various criteria, including source and destination IP addresses, ports, and protocols.
  • Predictable Load Balancing: You have more control over how traffic is distributed, making it easier to meet specific performance and policy requirements.
  • Ease of Management: PCC is relatively easy to set up and manage within the MikroTik environment.


  • Complex Configuration: Configuring PCC for complex network scenarios can be challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with MikroTik’s configuration syntax.
  • Limited Redundancy: PCC doesn’t provide automatic link failover, so additional measures are needed for network redundancy.
  1. Nth Load Balancing

Nth Load Balancing is another MikroTik-specific technique that distributes traffic based on a connection’s sequential number. It divides incoming connections into “buckets” and routes each bucket to a different link. Here are the pros and cons of Nth Load Balancing:


  • Simple Configuration: Nth Load Balancing is relatively simple to configure, making it a good choice for basic load balancing needs.
  • Load Distribution: It evenly distributes traffic across links, which can help in preventing link congestion.


  • Lack of Precision: Nth Load Balancing doesn’t consider factors like link speed or latency, potentially leading to uneven utilization of links.
  • Limited Criteria: Unlike PCC, Nth Load Balancing offers less granularity in traffic distribution, which might not meet specific network requirements.


Selecting the right load balancing technique for your MikroTik network depends on your specific needs and the complexity of your environment. ECMP, PCC, and Nth Load Balancing each have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to carefully assess your network requirements and design before implementing any of these methods. Additionally, combining these techniques or using them in conjunction with other features like Quality of Service (QoS) can help you achieve optimal network performance and reliability.

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