Low-cost RADIUS servers for Wi-Fi security

By , Network World |  Mobile & Wireless, wifi, wireless security

Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) servers are common in enterprise networks to offer centralized authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA) for access control. But RADIUS servers can also be useful in small and midsize networks to enable 802.1X authentication and WPA2 (802.11i) security for Wi-Fi nets.

We tested four RADIUS servers that smaller businesses might consider: Elektron, ClearBox, Microsoft's Network Policy Server from Windows Server 2008 R2, and FreeRADIUS.

We measured ease of installation and configuration, quality of the documentation and the ability to customize configurations. All of the vendors scored well, with ClearBox on top and Elektron a close second, and FreeRADIUS and Windows Server NPS tying for third.

Elektron ($750) is a good entry-level and user-friendly server. ClearBox ($599) is a great choice for small networks, but it also scales to larger networks. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 NPS is likely a given for organizations already running a Windows Server, as long as they don't need all the advanced features and database support. And FreeRADIUS (open source) is a solid and economical choice for Unix/Linux admins offering the most customization and flexibility.

Here are the individual reviews:


The Elektron RADIUS server from Periodik Labs is a Windows GUI-based server that's targeted toward wireless authentication for small and midsize networks, but supports other AAA purposes as well. It's offered as a 30-day free trial and then costs $750 for a single server license.

Elektron can run on Windows XP Pro, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2003 and 2008. There's also a Mac OS X edition that runs on 10.5 or later or with an Intel Core Duo or better processor. Both require at least 512MB of memory and 20MB of free disk space.

Elektron supports the following authentication methods: PEAP, TTLS, EAP-FAST, EAP-TLS, LEAP, PAP, CHAP, MS-CHAP, MS-CHAPv2, EAP-MS-CHAPv2, EAP-MD5, EAP-GTC, and EAP-OTP. It also supports the following databases for the user account data: Internal database (configurable via the GUI called Elektron Accounts), Windows accounts, Mac OS X Directory Services, Active Directory and other LDAP directories, SQL and other ODBC compliant data sources, Remote RADIUS servers and Script.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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