You may have heard our technicians and/or sales representatives speaking about authentication via our RADIUS server. The RADIUS server provides Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting functions (also known as AAA). RADIUS stands for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service. Here are some explanations of what these terms mean and the benefits of AAA RADIUS integration.
Authentication is the first phase of AAA RADIUS integration. Authentication identifies a user or device, but doesn’t determine what that user or device is allowed to do. This happens at a Wi-Fi installation when a user connects to the Wi-Fi network. The network equipment can determine the hardware address and IP address of the computer or tablet, but the user in this stage does not have the ability to access Internet resources (with the exception of the Internet login web page.) Furthermore, a user may have an access code or username to enter into the login web page. The authentication stage verifies that this machine belongs to an actual username in the RADIUS system.
Authorization is the second phase of AAA RADIUS integration. Authorization determines what a user is allowed to do online. When a user of your Wi-Fi installation brings up the login page and either accepts the terms of agreement or enters the access code or a username and password, They are officially authorized by the RADIUS server to access your Wi-Fi network. Part of this authorization determines how much bandwidth the user is allowed to consume, in addition to time limits for such access.
Accounting keeps track of a user’s activity. This includes when users log on, when they log off, and how much data they have sent and received. These numbers are used to generate reports and graphs on our control panel. These reports can be used to plan future network upgrades, detect trends in bandwidth requirements, and determine ISP bandwidth needs.
Some benefits of using a RADIUS-based system are as follows:
- Users agree to terms of service – Using AAA allows presentation of “Terms of Service” to the user, outlining acceptable behavior on your network and holding the Wi-Fi provider and business owner harmless of any damage.
- Codes and logins prevent non-guest use – When you implement an access code or username/password system, if a guest is not staying at your hotel, they will not have the correct credentials to be authenticated and authorized on the Wi-Fi system.
- Tiered bandwidth access – Using RADIUS AAA with the required username and password, different users can be allocated more or less bandwidth as needed.
- Reporting of Internet usage – Using RADIUS accounting, the GuestLinX Hospitality WiFi Control Panel keeps track of user activity – time on, time off, and data transferred