Managing RADIUS Authentication with UniFi

Jul 05, 2017

RADIUS Authentication

At a time when almost every gadget is “smart” and telecommuting is changing how we work, managing a corporate network is more difficult than ever.  Fortunately, as networks increase in complexity, the range of tools available to network administrators continues to expand as well. At Ubiquiti, we are constantly working to empower our customers by making it easier to integrate our product with these technologies.
One of these tools we have been able to better integrate with our UniFi products is RADIUS Authentication. While by no means a new technology, its utility has grown over recent years. Many corporate networks use RADIUS- and for good reason. As BYOD is here to stay it is hard to imagine a world where RADIUS Authentication doesn’t have a place.
UniFi and RADIUS work well together. UniFi allows you to manage your network in every location no matter how remote and with RADIUS you can use the same login at each site.
In this blog post I’ll explain how RADIUS works then show you how to integrate it with UniFi.

What is RADIUS Authentication?

RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service) is a popular network protocol that provides for the AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting) needs of modern IT environments. RADIUS equips administrators with the means to better manage network access by helping to provide a greater degree of security, control and monitoring. In basic terms, RADIUS allows remote users connecting to wireless networks to identify themselves and subsequently receive access to what they require.

When RADIUS-backed authentication is initiated, an authentication request and credentials are sent from the user’s device to the RADIUS client. The RADIUS client forwards this request on to the RADIUS authentication server to check against pre-defined rules/a user accounts database. An accepting-response is sent back to the users device via the client if the request meets the necessary requirements. The accounting feature if enabled, provides administrators with additional information like session length and bandwidth.
With UniFi, our Access Points/UniFi Switch once configured can also act as the RADIUS client to help authenticate users/devices with the the RADIUS authentication servers. Setting up your RADIUS configuration on your network may take quite a bit of time- but incorporating it into UniFi is simple.

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