8 no cost/low cost tools for deploying 802.1X security

Implementing and supporting 802.1X authentication on your network can be a challenge, but here are some tools that can help.

Also see: 6 secrets to a successful 802.1X rollout

FreeRADIUS server

For small and midsize networks, you don't have to spend a fortune on a RADIUS server. First check if your router platform, directory service, or any other server provides RADIUS for you already. If your current servers don't provide RADIUS functionality, check out FreeRADIUS, a free, open source tool that can run on Linux and other Unix-like OSs. It can serve anywhere from a dozen to millions of users and requests.


TekRADIUS is a shareware server that runs on Windows and offers a GUI. Basic features are free, while other versions can be purchased for features like EAP-TLS and dynamic self-signed certificate creation for PEAP sessions, VoIP billing, and other enterprise features.


If you're in the market for a commercial RADIUS server, ClearBox from Xperience Technologies is an option worth exploring.


Elektron from Periodik Labs is another low-cost RADIUS server that runs on Windows, and offers a 30-day free trial.


There are also cloud-based services, like AuthenticateMyWiFi, that provide hosted RADIUS servers for 802.1X, great for those that don't want to invest the time and resources in setting up their own.


There's a free 802.1X Configuration Deployment Tool from eduroam that you can use for Windows XP (SP3), Vista and Windows 7. You enter your settings and preferences, capture your network info from a PC already setup with the network, and then the tool will create a wizard users can run on their computers to automatically configure the network and other settings for them.


XpressConnect is a commercial tool that supports the distribution of the root certificate authorities on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS devices.

ClearPass QuickConnect

ClearPass QuickConnect and ClearPass Onboard both support the distribution of the root CA on Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS devices.

Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer. He's also the founder of NoWiresSecurity, which provides cloud-based RADIUS and 802.1X security, and On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer services.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.