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From the wikipedia page on RADIUS:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RADIUS

It says:

RADIUS is a client/server protocol that runs in the application layer, using UDP as transport. The Remote Access Server, the Virtual Private Network server, the Network switch with port-based authentication, and the Network Access Server (NAS), are all gateways that control access to the network, and all have a RADIUS client component that communicates with the RADIUS server.

Could someone tell me how many actual piece of hardware I would need on the client side if I wanted to offer public wifi? Do these components listed above come built into a router, or a firewall, or a switch etc? Or would I need some servers on the client side? I was hoping to only have an access point and then a gateway to the internet... and on the other side my RADIUS server, web server (containing captive portal webpage etc)?

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migrated from superuser.com Dec 31 '11 at 19:25

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2 Answers 2

In a wifi deployment scenario your RADIUS client would be the access point. You're looking for an AP that supports RADIUS.

In a wired Ethernet network the switch is the client, but you can't just use the switch behind the access point as the RADIUS client in a wifi network if you want to use wifi to control the ability of clients to associate with the access point.

Typically you'd use a protocol like 802.1X to force clients to authenticate while associating with the wifi access point. This isn't typically done in a public wifi access point where you want clients to associate w/o authentication.

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The way that they are often implemented includes the following devices. 1. Radius Server (authenticates users) 2. Wireless gateway (implements the access control features) 3. Access points (for wireless RF coverage)

However if you are offering public wifi I'm curious why you want to use radius authentication at all? Some gateways offer different built in authentication mechanisms. And some allow you to simply create access codes. One inexpensive option to implement a captive hotspot is called Untangle they also offer a free open source option for people that do not need technical support this is called Untangle lite.

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