User Authentication Triggers

User authentication triggers launch a profile when a user or an identified device logs in or out of the network using Network Login.

The network login feature does not permit any access beyond the port until the user or device is authenticated.

The two types of user authentication triggers are labeled user-authenticate and user-unauthenticated in the software. Profiles that respond to these triggers are called user-authenticate profiles or user-unauthenticated profiles. Typically, a user-authenticate profile is used to configure a port for a user and device that has just connected. Likewise, a user-unauthenticated profile is used to return the port to a default configuration after a user or device disconnects. Successful network login triggers the user-authenticate profile, and either an explicit logout, a session time out, or a disconnect triggers the user-unauthenticated profile.

Note

Note

VoIP phones are also capable of being authenticated before being allowed on the network. The phone begins 802.1X authentication based on a personal username and password. This authentication step is available and supported by the latest firmware from vendors such as Avaya and Mitel.

Network login requires a RADIUS server for user or device authentication.

The RADIUS server provides the following features:
  • Centralized database for network authentication

  • Further centralization when connected to an LDAP or Active Directory database

  • Dynamic switch configuration through Vendor Specific Attributes (VSAs)

VSAs are values that are passed from the RADIUS server to the switch after successful authentication. VSAs can be used by the switch to configure connection attributes such as security policy, VLAN, and location. For more information on RADIUS and VSAs, see Security.

The following sections introduce each of the network login event types that can trigger profiles:

802.1X Network Login

Network login 802.1X requires 802.1X client software on the device to be authenticated.

At login, the user supplies a user name and password, which the switch passes to the RADIUS server for authentication. When the user passes authentication, the RADIUS server notifies the switch, and the user-authenticate profile is triggered.

One advantage of 802.1X network login is that it can uniquely identify a user. A disadvantage is that not all devices support 802.1X authentication. For more information, see Network Login.

MAC-Based Network Login

MAC-based network login requires no additional software, and it does not require any interaction with the user.

When network login detects a device with a MAC address that is configured on the switch, the switch passes the MAC address and an optional password to the RADIUS server for authentication. When the device passes authentication, the RADIUS server notifies the switch, and the user-authenticate profile is triggered.

One advantage of MAC-based network login is that it requires no special software. A disadvantage is that security is based on the MAC address of the client, so the network is more vulnerable to spoofing attacks. For more information, see Network Login.

Note

Note

MAC-based authentication can also be used to identify devices. For example, an entire MAC address or some bits of the MAC address can identify a device and trigger switch port auto-configuration similar to the LLDP-based device detect event. The difference between MAC-based authentication and LLDP authentication is that MAC-based authentication does not provide information on the connected device. The advantage of MAC-based authentication is that it enables non-LLDP devices to trigger profiles.
Note

Note

UPM VSA is supported in ONEPolicy in NetLogin mode.

Web-Based Network Login

Web-based network login requires a DHCP server and may require a DNS server.

At login, the user supplies a user name and password through a web browser client, which the switch passes to the RADIUS server for authentication. When the user passes authentication, the RADIUS server notifies the switch, and the user-authenticate profile is triggered.

Some advantages of web-based network login are that it can uniquely identify a user and it uses commonly available web client software. Some disadvantages are a lower level of security and the IP configuration requirement. For more information, see Network Login.