Ubuntu image for EVE-NG – Python for network engineers

Lately I’ve started working more and more with EVE-NG to test various network scenarios, automation and in general to try and learn something everyday.

If you’re familiar with EVE-NG, you know where to find various Linux images which you can download and install . Very helpful indeed, however all of them are coming without any pre-installed tools which I need for network oriented tests. I need Python, IPerf, Ansible, various Python libraries for network automation, etc.
Basically every time when I setup a new lab in EVE-NG, I need to make sure that the Linux image has a connection to Internet to download all these tools. Doable, but too much time consuming.

Lately EVE-NG has the Pro version, where you have Docker images which support some of the tools for a network engineer needs to test automation. If you already have EVE-NG Pro, then maybe this is a bit redundant. However if you’re still using the Community version, it may sounds interesting.

I’ve developed the Ubuntu (18.04) image using the same tools that you can find in my Docker image (Ubuntu 16:04 Pfne):
* If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please read my previous post.

  • Openssl
  • Net-tools (ifconfig..)
  • IPutils (ping, arping, traceroute…)
  • IProute
  • IPerf
  • TCPDump
  • NMAP
  • Python 2
  • Python 3
  • Paramiko (python ssh support)
  • Netmiko (python ssh support)
  • Ansible (automation)
  • Pyntc

The image is hosted on my Firstdigest Project at Sourceforge.
If you are in a hurry, download directly using this link: Ubuntu 18.04 Pfne for EVE-NG.

For convenience here are the steps, but if you run into trouble be sure to check the EVE-NG Documentation.

  • Download the image
  • Using favorite SFTP Client (WinSCP, FileZilla) connect to your EVE-NG and upload the image to the location: /opt/unetlab/addons/qemu/
  • Connect via SSH to your EVE-NG machine and go to location:
cd /opt/unetlab/addons/qemu/
  • Unzip your uploaded image file.
tar xzvf linux-ubuntu-server-18.04-pfne.tar.gz
  • Remove the archived image file (be sure to have a copy somewhere to avoid you have to download it again)
rm -f linux-ubuntu-server-18.04-pfne.tar.gz
  • Fix permissions
/opt/unetlab/wrappers/unl_wrapper -a fixpermissions

The image comes with the following predefined username and password (security was not the point here):

User: root
Password: root
User: pfne
Password: pfne

With this image you have everything ready for your tests. You want to test QoS? Just design a network and two (client / server pair) machine using this image and push some packets with IPerf. Or maybe you want to test some automation. Here you have it, just start playing with.

Btw, I assume you have the EVE-NG installed. If not and you’re into learning topics, I’ll advise you to install this great application. You can start with Community version which is free (and honestly has enough features for most of the self-teaching engineers out there) and if you feel like go with the Pro version.

Let me know if you find it useful. In case of problems, please comment and I’ll try to help in my spare time.

IPsec VPN Mikrotik to Linux

After writing the Mikrotik IPsec VPN article and I got some questions about how Mikrotik will work with a Linux device to build an IPsec VPN. I did notice that the questions were more oriented for a copy / paste solution, so I’ll provide one that it’s working. If you need more details about why the solution is like it this, please let me know.
Also don’t forget to customize the solution as you need.

I’ll start with the same topology like in the last post, just that the right side now it’s a Linux device.


Please consider the minimum ports needed to be open on your firewall from my earlier article. Just don’t forget to open these ports also on the Linux device.

First let’s configure the Mikrotik.

The IPsec Proposal


ip ipsec proposal add name=MyProposal auth-algorithms=sha1 enc-algorithms=aes-256-cbc pfs-group=none


IP > IPsec > Proposals

Name: MyProposal
Auth. Algorithm: sha1
Encr. Algorithm: aes-256 cbc
PFS Group: none

The IPsec Policy


ip ipsec policy add src-address= dst-address= protocol=all action=encrypt level=require ipsec-protocols=esp tunnel=yes sa-src-address= sa-dst-address= proposal=MyProposal


IP > IPsec > Policies

Protocol: all
Action: Encrypt
Level: require
IPsec protocols: esp
Tunnel: check
Proposal: MyProposal

The IPsec Peer


ip ipsec peer add address= port=500 auth-method=pre-shared-key secret=my_preshared_key exchange-mode=main send-initial-contact=yes nat-traversal=yes proposal-check=obey hash-algorithm=sha1 enc-algorithm=3des,aes-128 dh-group=modp1024 generate-policy=no


IP > IPsec > Peers

Port: 500
Auth. Method: pre shared key
Passive: not checked
Secret: my_preshared_key
Policy Template Group: default
Exchange mode: main
Send Initial Contact: checked
NAT Traversal: checked
My ID: Auto - empty
Proposal Check: obey
Hash Algorithm: sha1
Encryptions Algorithm: 3des aes-128
DH Group: modp1024
Generate policy: no

Now, the Linux part. I’m using Ubuntu, but I’m not going to advocate here for one flavour or another. So, just use any device with Linux or you try solutions such as Amazon AWS. Install Openswan (compile it from source or install via your Linux flavour package system).

The main file for Openswan is ipsec.conf. For me this file is in /etc, but I assume it can reside in another location.

For the above example, the ipsec.conf file looks like this:

version 2.0

# basic configuration
config setup

# Add connections here
conn mikrotik-to-linux

You need to associate the keyword “left” with “local” and “right” with “remote” and it will be easier to read the configuration above.

Also in the /etc location I have another file called ipsec.secrets which has the pre-shared secret key: : PSK "my_preshared_key"

This is the minimal configuration that I need to apply to have the IPsec VPN up and running. I’m sure that it can be fine tuned to add more security or features, but that is not in scope of this post.

As always if you have problems please let me know in Comments.

How to emulate ASA in Ubuntu 9.10 and GNS3

Cisco ASA

Brainbump.net has an excellent and very complete how to emulate ASA using just the following components:

  • Ubuntu 9.10 – 32 bit Edition
  • GNS3 v0.7 RC1 tgz
  • Dynamips 0.2.8-RC2 binary for Linux x86 platforms
  • Qemu-0.11.0 tar.gz
  • Qemu-0.11.0 Patch
  • ASA Binary Version 8.0(2) – (asa802-k8.bin)

How-to is divided in 3 video tutorial parts for easy understanding and start with the most basic installation on GNS3 under Ubuntu 9.10 and continue with the actually configuration on the emulation.
If you are interested in security or you just want to test ASA and don’t have access to real hardware you definetely will want to try Brainbump.net tutorial.


Cisco: Use TTCP to test together with TTCPW or JPerf

In one my previous posts, I shown you how to test a connection using a hidden Cisco IOS tool called TTCP.  A few days ago I run into an issue. I had to test a TCP connection to a remote Cisco router, but I had not other router on which to initiate the TTCP connection. As explained in Testing TCP Connection post, to use TTCP you need 2 Cisco routers.

Now, I found 2 new ways to do the testing without the need of having 2 routers, but just one. Maybe you already know this methods, but for those who don’t please keep on reading.

First, there is a Windows tool called TTCPW (download here) (actually you can download also the code, and I think it’s possible to compile and run it under Linux as well). This TTCW tool have the same option like Cisco TTCP and can work together without any issue.
On Cisco router, issue the ttcp command, and keep the regular parameters (we are not interested for now in fine tuning). Below I set the Cisco router to be the receiver:

Cisco TTCP
Cisco TTCP with default settings

On PC side, you download TTCPW and use the same settings. Basically to transmit you only need to input ttcpw.exe -t or -r “ip.address” and that’s it  Of course you can tune the settings to meet your needs. Just type ttcpw.exe to see all the settings.

TTCPW help

The second tool that you can use with Cisco TTCP is IPerf (text mode) or JPerf (Java graphical mode). Just fill in the IP address and the port (5001 if default) and you’re ready to go:

Jperf with TTCP
Jperf with TTCP

Of course there are some limitations on JPerf to TTCP compared to JPerf to JPerf testing. One of then is that you cannot use parallel streams, if you want to stress the connection. To overcome this limitation, I do the following.
Open 2 or 3 connection to the Cisco router where TTCP will run. Start one each connection one TTCP daemon with different ports (e.g. assuming 3 connection than ports 5001, 5002 and 5003). Then on the client start 3 JPerf (Iperf) with the same IP address but different ports (you can take the one below). In this way you can stress the connection a little bit.

Cisco PPP Authentication

As a network engineer, you most probably already had to do with PPP authentication at least once or two times in your daily operation.  Even more, if you are going for a Cisco certification (and not only) you should know some stuff about PPP authentication. For today, I’ve planned to deal with back-to-back PPP authentication.

For this back to back scenario, we have the following simple topology:

When we talk about PPP authentication on a end-to-end line we are dealing with 3 major authentication method:




Now, when we think at security, we can easily observe that PAP is the less secure one and CHAP or EAP are the strongest one.

PAP (Password Authetication Protocol) transmits unencrypted ASCII passwords over the network and is therefore considered insecure. It should be used only as a last resort when the remote server does not support a stronger authentication protocol, like CHAP or EAP.
CHAP (Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol) is a more secure protocol as it uses a three-way handshake and the shared secret (password) is never sent on the wires. Instead a MD5 hash checksum is calculated based on the share secret and this one is sent as a challenge to the other peer.
EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) is an authentication framework, not a specific authentication mechanism. It provides some common functions and negotiation of authentication methods called EAP methods. There are currently about 40 different methods defined.

When we think of PPP authentication direction there are 2 types:

– one way authentication

– two ways authentication

Pretty obvious, no?

OK, enough with the theory. If you need some more deep understanding of PPP, there is always Internet. Next, I will show you some simple example with PPP authetication using PAP, CHAP and EAP.

PAP type authentication

Let’s assume that in the scenario above, R1 is sending a challenge to R2. Very important! From PPP authentication configuration, you don’t have to do anything to response to a challenge. This is done automatically.

username R2 password cisco
int s0/0
encapsulation ppp
ppp authentication pap

int s0/0
encapsulation ppp
ppp pap sent-user R2 password cisco

Actually that’s it. As I said, pretty simple. You configure R1 to send an authentication challenge to R2 with “ppp authentication pap”. R2 has to reply to this challenge with a username and a password defined with “ppp pap sent-user R2 password cisco”. This username and password have to be defined on R1. No matter what user and password you define on challenged part to be sent back, that information you have to define on challenger.

CHAP authentication type

Configuring CHAP is even easier. In the example below, I will configure R2 to send a CHAP challenge to R1

username R2 password cisco
int s0/0
encapsulation ppp

username R1 password cisco
int s0/0
encapsulation ppp
ppp authentication chap

By default, CHAP is sending the router hostname the user in the three-way handshake process, so there is no need to specify what user to send like in PAP method. As I said before, this method is more secure than PAP.

EAP authetication type

To be honest I didn’t saw too many PPP connections being authenticated with EAP, but is there and I saw some CCIE lab topics so, you should keep an eye on it. Like the other two method this one is easy to implement and is offering more secure level of authetication than PAP.

username R2 password cisco
int s0/0
encapsulation ppp
ppp authentication eap
ppp eap identity R1
ppp eap password cisco
ppp eap local

username R1 password cisco
int s0/0
encapsulation ppp
ppp authentication eap
ppp eap identity R2
ppp eap password cisco
ppp eap local

I believe that the command syntax is telling pretty much all there is. With “identity” you define the user to be send to the peer, “password” it what word is saying and last option “local” is the quite important. By default EAP needs a RADIUS server for authentication. If you don’t have one (exams, quick testing…) then you want EAP to use local database instead of RADIUS.

This  are the basics of PPP authentication. Even if there are not so much in use, try to remember this small steps as you might need them sometimes.