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I'm sorry if this is a noobish question. If you have some cisco switch connected to d-link wireless access points, which acts as the Radius client?

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Whichever is acting as the "Authenticator" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.1X#Overview).

The main parts of 802.1x Authentication are:

  • A supplicant, a client end user, which wants to be authenticated.
  • An authenticator (an access point or a switch), which is a "go between", acting as proxy for the end user, and restricting the end user's communication with the authentication server.
  • An authentication server (usually a RADIUS server), which decides whether to accept the end user's request for full network access.

https://kb.netgear.com/1209/What-is-802-1x-Security-Authentication-for-Wireless-Networks

From this it looks like you can have the switch authenticate the access point (to prevent someone plugging in a different access point) but that the access point itself could be authenticating the clients too.

The switch would likely only authenticate what is plugged into it and I doubt would be wireless client aware.

See also : Does WPA2 Enterprise also authenticate clients to the 802.1X protected switch port?

  • LWAPP (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightweight_Access_Point_Protocol) support appears to be required in that scenario. As the AP itself behaves like a switch (allowing more devices to connect) I looked up how 802.1x works with additional switches and found : networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/6162/… .. it looks like you certainly can chain.. hmm – Matthew1471 Jul 28 '17 at 18:04
  • Ah. So the Wireless Access Point can also act as a supplicant itself? Is that necessary? – Zouzou Ibba Jul 28 '17 at 18:09
  • If you're on a network that requires it before your AP can even communicate on the LAN then yes. Also it depends on your threat model, are you worried someone will plug in a rogue access point (in the lobby?) or is your AP in an area (data centre) that's not a risk? Here's how I'd configure a particular AP being a supplicant : supportforums.cisco.com/document/12559646/… – Matthew1471 Jul 28 '17 at 18:12

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