MikroTik Groove step-by-step setup guide

The MikroTik Groove is a fantastic product to use as a marine WiFi booster. However, it is not the simplest device to configure. This guide covers setting up and configuring the Groove for initial use, and some additional recommendations.

Other articles I’ve written that cover more details on configuration and usage:


There are a couple of different ways you can use the MikroTik Groove, the most common being an outdoor “booster” to grab remote WiFi signals and pipe them to a device on board your boat belowdecks. This device is usually a router that can use the Groove as an Internet source, and then shares it out on your boat with your own personalized WiFi network.

Sometimes folks use the Groove to connect directly to a laptop instead of an internal router, but this limits other people on board from being able to take advantage of the Groove.

The Groove will not function as both a remote WiFi grabbing device, and a WiFi router where it broadcasts a local network – this is a common question I get. The Groove can either be a client and grab a remote signal, or it can be a server or access point, and serve as your local WiFi network. I wouldn’t recommend the Groove for the latter, but instead the MikroTik hAP AC – check out my article on Modular, cheaper boat internet solution via Netgear and MikroTik for more details.

Why do I need one?

Short answer: read Marina WiFi is hard.

If you visit a marina, and you expect to connect to their WiFi network, you need some sort of external antenna or booster. Some Peplink products allow you to use a feature called WiFi as WAN which may work, but most of the time having an external, dedicated antenna or device is required for a stable connection.

Expecting all of your devices inside your boat to work with a wireless access point that has a billion other people nearby, with boats, metal masts, and other interference is one of the biggest misconceptions in marine WiFi. You need some way of amplifying the signal.

Getting Started

Connecting your Computer

There are two ways to configure a MikroTik device – via a web browser, or via Winbox. I prefer using the browser as it works from any operating system, even an iPad, while Winbox is made for Windows. You can run Winbox on Mac or Linux if you want to go through the headache of setting up Wine, which I don’t care to do. If you prefer Winbox, these instructions may not match all steps in that interface.

To get started with connecting, you will need to power the Groove via a PoE adapter – usually the one that it came with. Follow the instructions on what port goes where. You should end up with an Ethernet port on your computer connected to the PoE adapter, and the adapter connected to the Groove. When power is applied, you should hear the Groove beep very soon after applying it, and then 10-30 seconds later, another beep sequence to indicate it has booted.

If the Groove is working and running well, your PC should be assigned a DHCP network address in the 192.168.88.xx range. Use your operating system control panel to check that you are getting address.

Additionally, you can test connectivity by opening a Terminal in Mac, or a Command Prompt in Windows and pinging the Groove’s default IP address:


PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=62 time=33.826 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=62 time=30.486 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=62 time=42.349 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=62 time=45.525 ms

--- ping statistics ---
4 packets transmitted, 4 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 30.486/38.047/45.525/6.112 ms

If you get responses, then it’s up and running and ready to be configured.

If not, you may need to Factory Reset the device. See below on how to do that.

If it is up and running, connect with a browser to and you should see the initial Quick Set page.

Basics of the MikroTik Interface

If the device is running v6.40.x or newer, you will be taken to a simplified Quick Set page. Older firmware will take you to the Quick Set page, but with a big menu on the left hand side.

On the left hand area of the page, you will find MAC addresses, some basic settings for WiFi, and a list of nearby networks (once we configure things). The right hand side has the pieces we need to configure first, including the Quick Set choice, router/bridge mode, and addressing.


Groove LED showing Ethernet connection active, but no WiFi network connected

There are 6 LEDs on the side of the Groove. The first one will blink in various forms on boot up, and if you are doing a factory reset. Once the Groove has fully booted, that first (lowest) light should be on to indicate your Ethernet connection is up and working. It should blink to indicate network traffic.

The next LED up shows when you are connected to a WiFi access point, and the final 4 LEDs show the signal level of that remote WiFi network.

Factory Reset

If you get to a point where you can’t get back into the Groove, you may need to perform a factory reset. I have done this many times while experimenting with features or configuration, and have lost network connectivity to the device.

  1. Power off the Groove
  2. Using a small pointed object, press and hold the reset button on the bottom of the device near the Ethernet port
  3. While still holding the button, plug the power back in
  4. Wait until the bottom LED blinks, then release the reset button

Your Groove is now back to factory defaults and you can start over!

Initial Configuration

Step 1 – Router Mode

Many new Grooves are already setup in Router mode. You can tell yours is already setup this way if the Quick Set is set to “CPE”, and the Mode is “Router”.

If not, using the pull down near “Quick Set” choose CPE. It may want to reboot – make sure you do that before changing anything else.

If your Mode is not set to Router, choose that and press Apply Configuration at the bottom of the screen. It also may want you to reboot here, which I recommend.

Once you have the device in CPE + Router mode, you’ve done the most risky part of getting things setup. I have seen many situations where changing to other settings under Quick Set have rendered the Groove unreachable, and have had to reset it to factory defaults.

Some people have asked about Bridge vs Router mode, and why you would want another NAT in the process. NATs are not that “expensive” network-wise, and I find it easier to determine where traffic is coming/going to with clearly defined network addresses. Bridges are known to forward anything they receive, and in a WiFi situation, I don’t want crappy broadcasted traffic forwarded through the MikroTik down to my router.

Step 2 – Optional Settings

At this point, you can proceed to connecting to your first WiFi network – the basics are setup, and the rest of the defaults should work with a standard router connected to the Groove. If you want to, you can also change the Groove’s name, IP addressing, and the like.

I generally do not recommend changing the network settings as the defaults work well, and unless they conflict with other devices on your network, add more risk in changing. Plus, because you can get into situations where you have to Factory Reset, using the default IP address that MikroTik assigns saves you from having to change your networking just to reconfigure things.

I do recommend giving your router a name under Router Identity, and setting a password for the admin interface so that others can’t change the configuration.

Everything else I recommend leaving at the defaults unless you know what you’re doing.

Connecting to a new WiFi network

When you have arrived at a new marina and are ready to connect to a new WiFi network, there are a couple of choices to get you going:

The Quick Way

In newer firmware versions, it is very simple to connect to a new WiFi network. If you don’t have the new firmware, you might have to do the Manual Way, and then do a Software Upgrade.

To get started, login and make sure you’re on the Quick Set screen.

Once there, you should see a Wireless section on the left hand of the screen. By default the MikroTik should start showing you available WiFi networks, but it may be blank if the band is set wrong.

The Groove shows the available networks based on the Band, Channel Width, and Country that is selected. Here’s the best steps I’ve found:

  1. Country – choose the appropriate country
  2. Channel Width – set this to 20MHz which is the least restrictive/lowest common denominator
  3. Band – depending on whether you’re going for 5Ghz or 2.4Ghz, use the most inclusive list for each: 5Ghz-A/N/AC or 2Ghz-B/G/N

Once you find the network you want to join, click on it in the list, provide the password (if there is one), and click the Connect button. If everything is set correctly, you should connect very shortly.

You’ll know if you’ve joined successfully when the Status text says “connected to ess”. You should also have an IP address in the right hand side under Wireless Network.

If you do not have both of these, then there is something else wrong and you may need to look at a manual configuration, or the WiFi network you’re trying to join is too weak or overloaded (which is common).

Using a particular access point

While you are now connected and should have Internet access, some versions of RouterOS record the exact access point MAC address, band and channel width and locks the connection to those properties. If you are at a location where there are multiple access points (APs) providing the same WiFi signal, you may wish to override that so that the Groove searches for and uses the most powerful access point if something changes.

Often, when boats move up and down with the tides, and as environmental conditions change (another boat leaving, etc.) the AP you chose originally may not be the best one for you now.

In other situations, “pinning” your Groove to a particular AP may be desirable as you know it is the highest transmitting on 5Ghz, and you don’t want the Groove hunting around for another.

You may need to experiment to get the best results, and I have seen the above be completely wrong with some of the newer firmware versions – they configure it generically and connect to any AP with that WiFi name.

To override what has been set above, simply follow Step 4 below in The Manual Way to remove the AP MAC address and change the band and channel width to more inclusive values.

The Manual Way

If you have an older version of firmware, you may not be able to use the steps above. Also, if you prefer to tweak the radio or security settings, you might use these steps as well.

Step 1 – Security

If the WiFi network you’re connecting to requires a password (or security key), as most of them do, then you’ll need to create a security profile. To do this:

  1. Click on Wireless in the navigation pane.
  2. Click on the Security Profiles tab.
  3. Click Add New.

Most modern WiFi systems use WPA2 security, and in particular WPA2 PSK. Make sure that is selected only.

Leave the default Unicast and Group Ciphers set to AES – those are most commonly used as well.

Under WPA2 Pre-Shared Key, enter the password or passphrase for the WiFi network you’re trying to connect to. Leave everything else at the defaults.

Click Apply, and you have a Security Profile you can associate with the WiFi adapter for the network in question.

Step 2 – Scan

I always use the built in scanner regardless of what the marina has told me. I start by scanning with the radio set to 5Ghz, and then try 2.4Ghz if things don’t work out.

  1. Click on Wireless in the left navigation pane
  2. Click on the WiFi adapter, “wlan1”
  3. Change the band to 5Ghz – I set it to the most compatible of 5Ghz-A/N/AC
  4. Change Channel Width to 20Mhz
  5. Change the security profile to the one you setup in step 1

Now we need to scan for available networks

  1. Click on Scan to start the scan on 5Ghz
  2. If nothing shows up matching what the marina provided, they may only have 2.4Ghz. If so, go back to step 2 and choose 2Ghz frequencies.

Step 3 – Connect

Once I find a signal I like, I click Connect and let it auto-fill the WiFi adapter settings. You can tweak them afterwards.

Step 4 – Adjust

Once things are pre-populated from the above step, I go in and adjust a couple of things.

  1. Remove specific MAC address of AP chosen
  2. Adjust band to entire spectrum
  3. Adjust frequency to auto

Keep in mind that I do this because I know my boat will float a bit, and move around with the tides, and the one station we identified in our scan might not be the best a few hours later. If you have issues after changing these, your Groove might be hunting around and changing the remote AP too many times, and you can go back and re-run a scan to “pin” it to a particular access point.

You can also force the system to use a particular access point – see above under “Using a particular access point”

Software Upgrade

Once you are connected to a WiFi network, you need to upgrade the software to the newest release. I highly recommend doing this before relying on the Groove. Many bugs have been fixed in the more recent versions, as well as some major vulnerabilities that you don’t want hanging around.

To upgrade:

  1. Login to your Groove
  2. Click on WebFig to get into advanced configuration
  3. Expand System in the left hand menu, and choose Packages
  4. Click “Check For Updates” (requires active connection to the Internet)
  5. You’ll see a screen similar to the above if there is a new release available
  6. Click “Download&Install” and wait a couple of minutes while things are downloaded and installed
  7. The Groove will reboot and should come up with the new version.

I also recommend checking for new updates every week to ensure you’re on the latest and most secure and stable release.


By default the Groove has a firewall in place with some good rules to prevent anyone on the WiFi networks you connect to from accessing anything on it or elsewhere behind it. Unless you have needs to open ports for shared services or the like, I wouldn’t change much here.

In addition, if you are using an on-board router that the Groove is connected to, it also should have a firewall protecting your internal network as well.

I also highly recommend that you read Securing your Router for more information on additional steps you can take, and set an admin password and switch to SSL!


This is a very basic set of steps to get a MikroTik Groove up and running as a wireless “booster” for a marine application. You could also use this on an RV or in any other situation where you need to snag a remote WiFi signal and then amplify it within your house/boat/RV/yurt, etc.

However, by no means is this all-inclusive. There are tons of other features in the MikroTik RouterOS software, and you can end up with some pretty amazing and complex configurations. This guide is meant to help you get connected quickly. Hopefully it has, and you’re using it in your network to read this right now!

You can help support my site by buying a Groove through one of the Amazon affiliate links below.

Groove A 52 ac
  • Mikrotik GrooveA 52 ac also known as RBGrooveGA-52HPacn is now with 802.11ac support, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a selectable wireless band (2.4GHz or 5GHz, up to 80 MHz wide channel)
  • The new Gigabit port will help you utilise the full benefit of 802.11ac high speed wireless
  • The Groove A (AP model) comes with Level 4 license and includes a Dual Band 2.4/5GHz Omni directional antenna (6dBi 2.4GHz, 8dBi 5GHz)
  • The device has a built-in N-male connector and pole attachment points, so you can attach it to an antenna directly, or use a standard antenna cable
  • CPU nominal frequency: 720 MHz; Size of RAM: 64 MB; PoE in: Passive PoE; 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports: 1

Make sure you check out my other articles around similar topics:

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63 thoughts on “MikroTik Groove step-by-step setup guide”

  1. We used the Groove extensively while cruising. Our son’s correspondence school was mostly online and the Groove worked in a pinch. Getting internet onboard was never easy. You either paid for a 4G hotspot plan at their rates (Italy 20GB was 10€, 2GB was $20 for BTC) or work with wifi. Wifi wasn’t always reliable but it was free.

  2. I lose connectivity with the groove as soon as I select CPE from the quickset menu. Have to factory reset to get it back, but I am stuck. Thoughts?

    • Do you know what firmware revision you’re running? I’ve seen this happen before, and upgrading is one way to get around it. Additionally, you could choose one of the other settings other than CPE or leave it at the defaults and configure things that way too.

      • Have you figured out the steps to make the groove display both 2.4 and 5 ghz in a single listing? Several have told how to do it on the cruisersforum but I have not found the successful steps.

        • I do remember looking at this, and I think it only shows up in one specific place, not the main page you can use to quickly connect to a network. It’s not that big of a deal for me since I usually try 5Ghz first if I am in an unknown place, and if that is too far away or unstable, switch to 2.4Ghz.

  3. This article was a huge help. Our Groove 52 ac came set at 5Ghz and we couldn’t get connected to any ap’s (I could see them in the list but couldn’t get connected) . I changed to 2Ghz and was able to connect. My question is, what’s the difference between the two? How will I know if I need to change? We’re in a marina now and headed to the Bahamas… should I typically leave it set at 2Ghz? Thanks!

    • Hi Erin,
      I’m glad the article helped. I have written another article on the difficulties with marina WiFi at https://seabits.com/marina-wifi-hard/ which explains some of the differences and challenges between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.

      Typically, 2.4Ghz travels farther, and is older technology, so many marinas only have that band. It also may be the only WiFi network that reaches you when you are at anchor. I’m at anchor right now off of a marina, and can only “see” 2.4Ghz WiFi which I am connected to now.

      5Ghz WiFi is more modern, but doesn’t reach as far, and is typically faster and more reliable. You will just have to scan either band (switch back and forth) and chose whichever one has a stronger signal!

  4. Hi Steve, I am planning to purchase Our Groove 52 ac. They are coming in 2 versions – for US and other markets. Not sure what is the difference. Can not find any references on a subject. Will US vision will work in Canada and Caribbean? Will it work in Europe?

    • I would purchase the international one (non US one) if you plan on traveling outside the US. The US version has restricted channel lists (DFS related) as those frequencies are used by government sources here.

      • Hi Steve,

        I would like to have your advise. I would like to set up the Groove ac 52 and Mikrotik Router (MikroTik hAP AC.) to work as a boat internal and external wifi system. I will connect RPI and iKommunicate to the router) and eventually Netgear LB1120 LTE modem and Victron Venus GX as well. On a ocean passages i would like to switch Groove 52 ac off to save some electricity, so entire boat WiFi will be on a MikroTik hAP AC router, and I will be using iPad app to access SignalK data on RPI. In marina I would like to connect to the land WiFi via Groove 52 ac, but still access SignalK data on RPI at the same time.

        So question is : What will be the best way to configure Groove 52ac for these kind of situations? May be use 2 router solution at the same time, but it will confuse SignalK when it tries to upload the data to the cloud via marina WiFi. What you can suggest, based on your experiences?

        Best regards

  5. Hi Steve, great explanation. I was able to set up all and i am able to connect. I only have an issue when i would like to connect to an AP which requires a webbrowser interaction. Some of the Wifi providers have something programed that needs to have interaction (sometimes only a Click on “ok” to get online. Is there a way to get connected with the groove as well?

    • Stefan,
      I use my Groove to do this all the time. First I connect to the network, then use a laptop to try to get online, and whatever captive portal or login system exists prompts me to login. Usually you only have to do this once a day at the most, but things work fine afterwards.

  6. Hi Steve,

    I set-up Groove and upgraded to the latest firmware. I can connect to remote WiFi sites without problems, even with their signal strength -98Db. So far so good.
    However I have some strange behaviour. May it is just me. I can connect to Internet via MikroTik with iPad without any problems, however never been able to connect with Mac Or Windows10. Did you experience the similar behaviour?



    • No I can’t say I’ve ever seen that behavior before. Since I have mine connected to an upstream router (Peplink) it really is that device that is connecting to something else, and as long as it connects to a signal, any device behind it (iPad, Windows, Mac, etc. ) works fine.

  7. Any thoughts on cutting the power wire for the power adapter that comes with the Groove PoE and hardwiring it directly into the boat DC @ 12v? The Groove says it can be powered via 10v-30v and the power adapter says it’s converting AC to 24v DC.. but before I cut it I wanted to see if anyone else had since I can’t get a replacement easily where I am.

    • This is exactly how I ran mine on my previous boat, a sailboat, for several years. I didn’t have a PoE source, so I cut the DC wall wart barrel connector wire, wired it into my 12v house bank, and ran the MikroTik that way for a long time. Since it can take 10v-30v, it was fine with sags when the house bank got low, and higher voltages when it was under charge.

      • Ooh that’s a hard one. I don’t have a lot of very specific suggestions for that area of the world. I know many folks who have sailed the South Pacific, and it sounds like they have to get a specific SIM from each country/island/area and top it up with data when they arrive. South America should be a bit easier, as there are some providers that cover multiple countries, but you still may be in a similar situation….

  8. Steve thanks for this great guide. I have been using the Mikrotik groove for a couple weeks now at various marinas and anchorages and it’s working great alongside our internal router (TP-Link). I have just arrived at a new Marina and for some reason the groove is not getting any IP address (my laptop and other devices can logon to the marina just fine) – any pointers in figuring out why? (They have a ubiquity set-up)

    • Hi Geoff,
      I have seen this behavior in a few situations. The most common has been when I have been out and about a lot, and flipping back and forth between APs. I’ve had to reboot the MikroTik and it will magically get an IP address when it hasn’t for many tries before. I am not sure if this has to do with a stale DHCP lease from a previous AP or what is going on, but I have seen this many times on my own equipment and customer stuff as well.

      The second most common reason I’ve seen this has been problems on the marina AP side – usually mis-configured APs that are advertising an SSID without the rest of the stuff being configured correctly, or simply a low signal to your end, which will still show as connected, because the MikroTik is pretty aggressive, but the AP at the other end never sees a good enough signal and hands out an address.

      The last could be a compatibility issue, or someone is smart enough to have programmed filters at the Ubiqiti end to block MikroTik stuff, which I would find to be rare. I know of at least 20 people who are using MikroTik stuff and connected to Ubiqiti APs without any issues.

      Are you able to get an IP address from the same remote AP using another type of device?

      • Steve,
        I can connect quite well with my laptop and phone to the marina – so no issues there.

        I just tried again – each time I power it up and no luck. So I tried a different access point (is that the name when it is just a different MAC address), but same SSID and it still had issues, but after a while came through.

        thanks for the pointer.

        • I’m going to guess it might be related to the signal level? Is it a good quality signal? 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz? Are you using the main screen connect dialog, or pinning it to particular MAC/APs? Lastly, I’d make sure you are on the newest version of software from MikroTik just in case they fixed a bug related to compatibility.

          • Just found another marina with this same problem.. connect fine on my laptop… my wife’s (older) laptop no so much.
            I played around and briefly was able to get an IP address after resets etc.. but never figured out what I did to repeat it. Tried both 2.4 and 5Ghz both with good signal quality. 95% of marina’s have been fine.
            I’m almost on the most recent fw (x.y.0 vs x.y.1), but can’t easily upgrade as not connected.
            Curious if others have found solutions.

          • I have not figured out why this happens, but it has to be some weird incompatibility. Can you see the MAC addresses of the marina WiFi and can you send them along? We could potentially narrow it down to a particular brand of WiFi equipment that might have a compatibility issue with MikroTik (or vise versa) or it could be a feature or block they have in place.

          • Yes.. good idea, next time i’ll log the MAC address (and share) and look into who created the AP.
            ps. this is a reply to a comment below…

          • Not exactly the same problem – but at a marina now where the laptops connect just fine to both APs, but the Mikrotik won’t (as if the password is wrong or something like that)
            MAC1: 68:72:51:74:48:F1
            MAC2: FC:EC:DA:DA:02:AC

            FC:EC:DA:DA:02:[email protected]: lost connection, received deauth: 4-way handshake timeout (15)
            FC:EC:DA:DA:02:[email protected] established connection on 2427000, SSID Dowry Creek Marina II

          • MAC1 is their first AP MAC2 is their second AP (different names/locations)

            Are you saying APs like the UniFi line or AirMAX don’t work with Mikrotik Groove? (why?)

          • Gotcha – the second didn’t show up when I first looked it up, but both came back as Ubiquiti Networks. That does not necessarily mean they are AirMAX, they’re most likely UniFi access points.

            I don’t know of any particular reason why they wouldn’t work with MikroTik, but this is not the first time someone has reported UniFi or Ubiquiti being the APs they had difficulties connecting to. I myself had challenges at a local marina that used that gear, so I’m beginning to wonder if there is some incompatibility with the two. It would be unlikely that this many folks would block the MikroTik actively – it has to be a bug or compatibility issue of some sort.

        • Geoff – I have had some luck resolving this connection refusal by torching the webfig wireless settings. Use Webfig/Wireless/select your interface and Torch the settings. Then return to the Quickset settings and try again. I suspect it has something to do with how slowly the MikroTik searches for the right frequency dependent on where it was used last. I’ve also had several situations where I get the connection then It drop instantly, reconnects, and repeats endlessly. This solution has resolved that dilemma as well.

          • Unfortunately, torching my settings doesn’t seem to fix the problem. (Although my problem is exactly that)

          • If you QuickSet Values are wide open e.g. 5GHz A/N/AC and Channel Width 20/40/80 MHz XXXX then the only other remedy I’ve had success with was asking the Marina to reset their equipment shore side. That cleared things for me and apparently a few other boaters as well. I’ve only done that once though and there have been a few occasions when I’ve just given up which is especially maddening when/if you’ve connected to the same AP in the past no problem.

  9. Hi Steve, I just came across this article. Thanks for sharing. Great info about this stuff is hard to come by. Are you still using T-mobile out on the water? Do you put a T-mobile One sim card in your peplink router? I have a pepwave router and I put a T-Mobile sim in with a data only plan that has a cap on LTE. I understood that the normal “phone” plans wouldn’t work in the router. But it looks like maybe that’s what you’re doing so maybe it does work after all!

  10. Hi Steve, great write up – I was going to buy a Ubiquity Bullet (I think they are single band though?) but this inspired me to try the MikroTik. Disclaimer: I am very, very much a novice at networking!!

    I have a Mikrotik RB Groove GA-52HPacn order from Amazon.com here (btw – I thought I was ordering an international version but this one is locked to “united states3” with no other options available: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HY2HYGO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I had some extra challenges just getting started and thought others might benefit. I was completely unable to login via a direct cable ethernet connection from my MacBook on the default

    The first clue could be seen in the Mac System Preferences where a notice is given “Thunderbolt Ethernet has a self-assigned IP address and will not be able to connect to the internet”. The IP address listed is in the 169.254.xx.xx range. I’m sure networking experts would realize the issue right away – but I was baffled. I tried every method I could think of try and gain browser access with no luck and for the record the supplied paper instruction do state: “The default IP address from Ether1 is for configuration Username is admin and there is no password”. I could see the MikroTik as a wireless transmitter but could not log into that either (looking back I’m wondering if I was doing something wrong with the wireless method of access and maybe I could have gained accessed it this way).

    Sooo…. I thought maybe my Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter causing a problem and I borrowed a PC and ended up with the same issue. I tried couple different ethernet cables, also again with no luck. After many, many reboots and resets of the router I finally caved in and downloaded the WinBox configuration utility onto a PC (although it looks like I could have do so on the MacBook as well… https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Winbox ).

    I was immediately rewarded with a connection to the router via the MAC address. I switched the settings to CPE and Router (vice Bridge) and rebooted and I was now up and running, able to connect via the web based GUI over an ethernet cable connected any computer and simply followed your very clear instructions.

    Had I taken the time to investigate I would have found that my Router came configures as a “WISP Bridge” https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Default_Configurations

    A very helpful link was:

    Finally a note on the Canadian version instructions that I downloaded it says:
    “In case IP connection is not available, the Winbox tool (http://mt.lv/winbox) can be used to connect to the MAC address of the device from the LAN side (all access is blocked from the internet port by default).”

    Basically it’s been a fun couple of days getting everything hooked up… a Ubiquity EdgeRouter now supplies POE to the MikroTik for WAN access and POE to a Ubiquity AirCube for LAN access and my YachtDevices YDWG-02 supplies NMEA data wirelessly back to the LAN for everything else to use. I have not tried to run all of this off a 12 volt system yet but if the EdgeRouter and AirCube will function on 12 volts it would be great.

    Thanks again for the excellent writeup.


  11. Hey Steve, thanks for all the effort you’ve put into helping your fellow mariners out with on board networking! I just received my Groove. ?? The tiny instruction manual indicated it would broadcast a WiFi signal I could connect to for initial setup but I don’t see one coming from it. Your instructions are to plug the Ethernet cable straight into the computer, and I run a MacBook Air that doesn’t have an Ethernet port. Do you think I could access the Groove via its IP if I used an Ethernet to USB adapter? Also, once I complete initial setup and have the groove connected to my WiFi router, an you make adjustments to the settings and select the WiFi signals you want without having to unplug it from the router and hardwiring it directly into your computer?

    Thanks again!

    M/V Fathom
    SeaRay 440 Aft Cabin

    • I’ve seen the manual say that before, but I’ve never seen a Groove operate that way or broadcast a WiFi signal. Maybe that was an older version of firmware….

      I use a MacBook all the time, and they don’t have ethernet ports, so I use a USB-to-Ethernet adapter. However, there have been a lot of reports lately with Groove’s not working with IP addresses as well. To solve that, you will need Winbox which is a tool MikroTik make available for download. It only runs on Windows. You could run a VM of Windows using Parallels or VMware, but let’s hope yours will just start working without that option.

      As long as you don’t change the IP address of the Groove, you shouldn’t need to set it up again this way. I’ve had one on my boat over a year and change WiFi networks all the time and have never had to reset it. Even if you do, you can do it with the longer cable worst case scenario and plugging your computer in to it without removing it from the mast/outside.

  12. Steve, some more help would be appreciated!

    I am finally able to test the MikroTik side of things, and immediately ran into an issue. I am following the steps in this article, but cannot ping the MikroTik nor get the setup screen to load. My laptop is plugged into the data side of the POE injector, and I have a brand new cable (tested with 2 different ones) running from the POE+data side of the injector to the MikroTik.

    I have factory reset the MikroTik as described, but this is my observation.

    While holding the reset button, and upon plugging in the cable, the top light is solid. I keep holding the button in until the bottom LED starts flashing. I then release the reset button. What happens next is it beeps, and the bottom light goes out. After around 30 seconds it beeps again, and no lights are on.

    This does not sound right to me in relation to the article?

    Also, I am unable to ping the device, I either receive no response or I receive:

    Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from Destination host unreachable.
    Reply from Destination host unreachable.
    Reply from Destination host unreachable.
    Reply from Destination host unreachable.

    Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

    I am disconnected from wireless during this process.

    Any thoughts?

    • I’ve heard of, and see, a decent number of Groove’s coming from the factory where resetting them won’t even get them to behave. One thing I do notice is your IP for your laptop, which is on a completely different subnet than the Groove. Make sure you have it on the 192.168.88.xx subnet.

      An easier way might be to use Winbox – it’s a PC only program MikroTik provides to configure their products. With more than one recent install, I’ve had to resort to that program because the Groove won’t respond to normal IP addressing which means you can’t use the normal browser configuration. Winbox doesn’t need an IP and can find it based on the MAC address and allow you to set some basic settings, or use it to configure everything if you wish.

      Let me know if that helps!

      • Hi
        I had a similar problem for the longest and finally figured a workaround. Connecting the groove to the port 5 Poe port on the MikroTik 951Ul-2HnD always gave me connection problems. Finally I found two new power connectors that fit the MikroTik groove and router and soldered them to a cigarette lighter adapter to test. Then I plugged the groove into port 1 on the 951 router. Port 1 is labeled also as internet. That solved all my intermittent issues and I never had a groove/router issue again.

        • Strange! I have used MikroTik Groove’s off of PoE ports on other MikroTik products, hacky home made PoE converters (12v battery bank to the pins) and on 3rd party PoE products from Tycon and UniFi, and have had no instability power-wise. Glad you found a solution!

  13. Fantastic write up and excellent follow up here. Thanks for this and I will add my recent learning as well as ask a question.

    My US-Locked device, purchased here in Feb 2020, was impossible to connect with via wifi the broadcast SSID or via computer with direct Ethernet connection. I didn’t have Windows PC available to run Winbox but found that after Reset, the Groove looks for a DHCP server on the Ethernet port. This required simply plugging into an available router to get an assignment and then a quick scan of the address space and I was in to work out the configuration. Once configured, the Ethernet cable was installed on the WAN port of My PepWave router and I was in business. Every Reset since (there have been many as I’ve explored the Webfig settings only to hang the Groove) has required the same process. I had no luck finding the Groove default to 192.168.88.x , 51.x, etc. – It seems to me that you either use Quick Set or Webfig – not both. Several settings tweaked in Webfig seem to create a conflict with QuickSet and results in hanging the Groove.

    I have the Groove working well as a CPE in Router mode, feeding the WAN port on my PepWave router. Consequently I have a double NAT situation and a noticeable degrade in throughput. As others have noted, the double NAT situation often causes trouble with captive or referred portals. e.g. BBX will often fail to resolve a login page through a double NAT setup. Ideally, I’d like to run the GROOVE CPE in BRIDGE mode to eliminate these issues allowing my PepWave to directly manage the WAN IP acquisition (I don’t care about traffic pinging the router). I am able to survey and secure a remote AP, flip the Groove to BRIDGE, then open the Router Page and set the WAN IP to DHCP – bingo all works good, no more double NAT, throughput is perky, etc. The challenge is getting back into the Groove to do a new survey without having to put it through a full RESET, switching cables, etc. Once in BRIDGE Mode, Winbox doesn’t find the Groove despite my setting the PepWave Routers WAN IP and Bridge IP to static addresses. When using my previous (3) short lived Ubiquity Bullets, I was able to create an IP alias in the Bullet that allowed me to access it by simply switching the WAN IP of the router to a static address. An extra step but much much easier than the alternatives. I am wondering if there is a way to do the same in the Groove – define an IP alias (address) which can be accessed outside the WAN domain allowing a path back to the Groove configuration screen for new wireless surveys and connections.

  14. Steve – in your article you mention the notion of “pinning” the Groove CPE connection to a particular AP and a technique to open the same up to all reachable APs sharing the same SSID. My experience with this has been mixed – I have used QuickSet UI to select a targeted AP and had the MAC stick when same name SSIDs are present. But I have also seen cases where I select a specific AP-MAC and the connection undesirably hops to a different MAC with the same SSID. I dug into the Webfig but for the life of me I am not able to find where one would pin or open the MAC for the target AP. I don’t see such a field listed in Webfig nor do I see it shown in any of the screen shots in your article. The only editable MAC field I can find is in the General Section which seems to pertain to the MAC of the MikroTiK acting as the CPE. Will you provide a few more specifics to Step 4 in this article? I would really like to solve this.

    • Hi Carl,
      I believe the way it works by default is if you provide it an SSID, it will roam to the highest signal one using it’s own sort of logic. I’ve seen that backfire, as you are experiencing, where it will hop too frequently, or choose an AP that is not as optimal based on some criteria it has within itself.

      For multiple customers I’ve setup what are called Connect Lists and picked only the nearby APs that we know are good, leaving out the ones we know are too far away or have poor performance when connected to. You can also use this in the reverse as well and list stations you never want to connect to, but if I remember correctly you can’t do both simultaneously.

      You can get to this list by going to Webfig -> Wireless -> Connect List. You want to enter each AP you want to connect to and provide its full MAC address, and the SSID. If you want to force it to connect to an AP, the values are as follows:
      Enabled: on
      Interface: leave at default (should be wlan1 on a Groove)
      MAC address: remote APs MAC address
      Connect: checked
      SSID: the SSID of the network associated with this AP
      Security Profile: the profile / password for this network (if appropriate)

      Everything else can be left alone or at the defaults. You can experiment with the Signal Strength Range and such if you want, as well as the protocols if things are changing at the AP end for some reason.

      If you want to reverse it, you need to reverse some of the options when you create the connect list, and also turn “Default Authenticate” off for the WiFi adapter itself. You can find more details about the specifics at https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Interface/Wireless#Connect_List

  15. Is there a better antenna component to the Groove that might boost signal for my sailboat. Is the one that comes with it adequate in the marine setting. Thanks. Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      I use the Altelix Dual Band 8dBi Outdoor WiFi Omni Antenna – https://amzn.to/2WPebN6
      It is a dual band antenna, and has provided excellent performance compared to the factory one. I know a bunch of folks who have asked before have also purchased this one and seem to be happy with it too.

      • Thanks Steve. Does the antenna (stock or this one) have to be exactly vertical? I have my angled a bit since mounted on my arch that angles aft over my stern.

        • It really should be vertical. Antennas have a radiation pattern they work best at, and most need to be as vertical as possible or will have one “side” that will be pointed up more than the other, and have less effectiveness. Depending on the angle, it could not be a big issue…

  16. Hello Steve
    thanks for the great info I purchased the groove from your link last year I finally got around to trying to set up.
    I cannot get any lights to light when i plug the ethernet cable and the power supply the green led on the adapter goes out, if i unplug the ethernet cable the light comes on.
    I tried the reset procedure as you mentioned and I cannot get any LEDS to blink or turn on
    Is this unit dead on arrival Hopefully I am doing something wrong
    I hope to hear from you thanks

    • Hi Joe,
      Sorry you’re having a problem. I’m not able to quite understand what light you’re referring to, and when it’s going out. The light on the MikroTik? Or the light on the power adapter? Without more info, I’m not sure that I could help you.

  17. Thanks for writing this great post. Based on your advice, I bought a Groove for my boat. I have it up and running per your instructions here. My home marina has a ton of APs of different names that all share the same password. Periodically, the AP I am connected with will slow down and I have to switch to a different AP. Less frequently, an AP will go offline. The question I have is whether the Groove can be setup to switch between a small group of APs if for example the Signal to Noise or some other metric drops below a specific value or the connected AP drops offline? Is there a way to set that up on the Groove? Basically find the strongest signal from the list of configured APs and connect to that one? I am not well versed in the networking acronyms and networking is definitely not my super power. Any guidance is appreciated!

    • That’s a weird way to setup a WiFi network! Different SSID names but the same password? I can see some benefits since you know what you’re connecting to, if they use location names, etc. but it can result in a lot of quick little outages while the client roams to the new SSID….

      There is a way to achieve what you’re asking to do using a Connect List (https://help.mikrotik.com/docs/display/ROS/Wireless+Interface#heading-ConnectList) which you can use to match SSID, MAC address, and an acceptable signal level. It’s quite powerful, and I’ve used it for a number of folks in marinas where they know a particular AP is always going to be the best, but for some reason, they’re on a less performant one. Setting rules can at least force it to try those first, use signal level thresholds, and then drop back to the slower ones if the main one is really not working.

  18. A few notes for getting things set up with a recent Groove A model and a Mac:
    – The default settings did not allow me to connect via wifi or through wifi via a router; the Groove A would always put me on a different subnet than its internal
    – Accordingly, using Winbox or Winbox4Mac and connecting directly to the Groove via an Ethernet cord and MAC address search was *NECESSARY*. I found Winbox4Mac to be stable and invaluable.
    – After connecting with Winbox4Mac I was given the option of removing the factory Access Point setting. **Remove the Access Point Settings**. Without resetting these you will not be able to switch to CPE mode.
    – After these settings have been removed you should also be able to connect to the Groove Webfig at in your browser.
    – The new, reset settings will not have the necessary configurations to fully function as a CPE (particularly DHCP client, DHCP server, Firewall filtering, NAT masquerading). I used the config file from a Mikrotik SXT2 to set the Groove up appropriately. The firewall settings were the trickiest for me to debug, as there are many sub-panels of config options.

    This process will need to be repeated after each factory reset, but will “stick” after a normal reboot or power-off.

    – Macbook Pro running Mac OS 10.15 Catalina
    – Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter
    – Groove A 52 ac (GA-52HPacn)

    • Config.rsc file from SXT2 – note the **YOURKEYHERE** and **YOURSSIDHERE** fields. Also note that the most recent Groove firmware will always switch the mode from “station” to “station-pseudobridge” and the protocol from 802.11 to nv2-nstreme-802.11. Both of these automatic changes seem acceptable, as they will fall back to the desired CPE behavior.

      These can be transferred by hand to Winbox, or automatically imported (though I could not figure this out using a Mac computer with Winbox4Mac).
      # jul/23/2020 23:38:05 by RouterOS 6.41.3
      # software id = YAW2-L7TG
      # model = RouterBOARD SXTsq G-5acD
      # serial number =****
      /interface list
      add comment=defconf name=WAN
      add comment=defconf name=LAN
      /interface wireless security-profiles
      set [ find default=yes ] supplicant-identity=MikroTik
      add authentication-types=wpa-psk,wpa2-psk eap-methods=”” group-ciphers=\
      tkip,aes-ccm management-protection=allowed mode=dynamic-keys name=defaultkey \
      supplicant-identity=”” unicast-ciphers=tkip,aes-ccm wpa-pre-shared-key=\
      **YOURKEYHERE** wpa2-pre-shared-key=**YOURKEYHERE**
      /interface wireless
      set [ find default-name=wlan1 ] band=5ghz-a/n/ac channel-width=20/40/80mhz-eeeC \
      disabled=no frequency=5805 security-profile=defaultkey ssid=**YOURSSIDHERE** \
      /ip hotspot profile
      set [ find default=yes ] html-directory=flash/hotspot
      /ip pool
      add name=dhcp ranges=
      /ip dhcp-server
      add address-pool=dhcp disabled=no interface=ether1 name=defconf
      /ip neighbor discovery-settings
      set discover-interface-list=LAN
      /interface detect-internet
      set internet-interface-list=all
      /interface list member
      add comment=defconf interface=ether1 list=LAN
      add comment=defconf interface=wlan1 list=WAN
      add list=LAN
      /ip address
      add address= comment=defconf interface=ether1 network=\
      /ip dhcp-client
      add comment=defconf dhcp-options=hostname,clientid disabled=no interface=wlan1
      /ip dhcp-server network
      add address= comment=defconf gateway=
      /ip dns
      set allow-remote-requests=yes
      /ip dns static
      add address= name=router.lan
      /ip firewall filter
      add action=accept chain=input comment=\
      “defconf: accept established,related,untracked” connection-state=\
      add action=drop chain=input comment=”defconf: drop invalid” connection-state=\
      add action=accept chain=input comment=”defconf: accept ICMP” protocol=icmp
      add action=drop chain=input comment=”defconf: drop all not coming from LAN” \
      add action=accept chain=forward comment=”defconf: accept in ipsec policy” \
      add action=accept chain=forward comment=”defconf: accept out ipsec policy” \
      add action=fasttrack-connection chain=forward comment=”defconf: fasttrack” \
      add action=accept chain=forward comment=\
      “defconf: accept established,related, untracked” connection-state=\
      add action=drop chain=forward comment=”defconf: drop invalid” connection-state=\
      add action=drop chain=forward comment=\
      “defconf: drop all from WAN not DSTNATed” connection-nat-state=!dstnat \
      connection-state=new in-interface-list=WAN
      /ip firewall nat
      add action=masquerade chain=srcnat comment=”defconf: masquerade” ipsec-policy=\
      out,none out-interface=wlan1
      /system clock
      set time-zone-name=America/Los_Angeles
      /tool mac-server
      set allowed-interface-list=LAN
      /tool mac-server mac-winbox
      set allowed-interface-list=LAN

  19. Hey Steve,

    I came across your article while researching for a similar setup, except onshore with a caravan. Your article is really helpful and similar to what I want to do, but one thing I haven’t been able to find a lot of information on is lightning and the risk it poses to the Groove being exposed outside. Is this something you have run into any issues with? This is the one part of the setup that I just can’t figure out – I don’t want to risk damaging other devices on the network.

    • Hi Matt,
      I think it is going to be a similar risk to any kind of antenna outdoors. If your caravan TV antenna got hit, I would imagine everything inside would be fried, regardless of how well you protected it. There are some ethernet lightning arrestors that you could potentially use in-line with the power-over-ethernet connection to the Groove, but I’m not sure how well they work in general.

      • Thanks Steve. I think you’re right – I just wanted to see what others are doing in case I was missing something obvious. Lightning is pretty uncommon here and I can likely disconnect the device should it get bad, but I’ll take a look into the Ethernet lightning arrestors as well.

  20. Hi Steve,

    Great article! We have gone through a few extenders on our boat. First we used a Ubiquiti Bullet M2HP that worked for 2 years until the antenna connector snapped off. It’s not sold anymore so I tried to replace it with an Alfa Tube 2HP mounted at the masthead.

    This seemed to work until I realized that the Alfa was “non-isolated” which caused serious problems with our boat’s isolated ground system. Do you know if the MikroTik Groove (or Metal) is isolated or non-isolated?

    Specifically, is the metal antenna connector isolated or is it connected to either the positive or negative power lead? We mount it using a stainless bracket that is screwed to the mast and goes between the antenna and AP/CPE body, so it’s imperative that the AP/CPE is isolated. Thanks!

    • Hi Scott,

      Good question – I actually do not know. I have had a number of MikroTik’s outside in various locations, on boats, etc. and have had two where the antenna snapped off due to age/sun/? but I don’t know if the connector is isolated or not.


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