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4.10 Authenticating Clients to FreeRADIUS - BrainDump

In this third part of a five-part series on building a Linux wireless access point, you'll learn several different ways to secure your servers, so you can choose the level of security that best suits your needs. This article is excerpted from chapter four of the Linux Networking Cookbook, written by Carla Schroder (O'Reilly; ISBN: 0596102488). Copyright © 2008 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

  1. Securing a Linux Wireless Access Point
  2. 4.8 Enterprise Authentication with a RADIUS Server
  3. 4.9 Configuring Your Wireless Access Point to Use FreeRADIUS
  4. 4.10 Authenticating Clients to FreeRADIUS
By: O'Reilly Media
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February 04, 2010

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Now that you have your access point and FreeRADIUS server ready to go to work, how do your clients talk to it?


All clients need a copy of ca.crt. Mac and Linux clients get their own [hostname].crt and [hostname].key files. Windows clients use [hostname].p12.

Your Windows and Mac clients have built-in graphical tools for importing and managing their certificates, and configuring their supplicants. What do you do on Linux? I havenít found anything that makes the job any easier than editing plain old text files. Go back to Recipe 4.7, and start with the configuration for /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf. Change it to this:

  ## /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
      pairwise=CCMP TKIP
      group=CCMP TKIP
      identity="alice sysadmin"
      private_key_passwd= "verysuperstrongpassword"

The value for identity comes from /etc/raddb/users on the FreeRADIUS server. Certificates and keys can be stored anywhere, as long as wpa_supplicant.conf is configured correctly to point to them.

Continue with the rest of Recipe 4.7 to test and finish configuring wpa_supplicant.


Be sure that .key files are mode 0400, and owned by your Linux user. .crt files are 0644, owned by the user.

You can have multiple entries in wpa_supplicant.conf for different networks. Be sure to use the:


format to set them apart.

NetworkManager (http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/) is the best Linux tool for painlessly managing multiple network profiles. It is bundled with Gnome, and is available for all Linux distributions.

See Also

  1. man 8 wpa_supplicant
  2. man 5 wpa_supplicant.conf

Please check back for the next part of this article.

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