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Verifying 802.1x in enterprise networks
Updated: November 24, 2021

Verifying 802.1x in enterprise networks

Companies are spending big money on defensive measures against the outside attackers — investing into Next-Generation Firewalls, Intrusion Prevention Systems and Proxies. The inner network, however, was considered safe place, where nothing bad can happen.

This understanding has thankfully changed in recent years, especially with rise of mobility technologies allowing employees to work anywhere and concepts like Bring Your Own Device (and some major incidents as well, of course). Today's network administrator has to think about various types of devices connecting to the internal network and policy, how to treat them to keep the internal network and business critical systems safe.


Solution to this problem is to deploy network wide 802.1 x protocol, that allows the user to access the network just if he is able to authenticate himself using a username and password, or a valid certificate issued by the company. Various options are available and listing all the details would be worth a book.

It is not always straightforward deployment, as these types of projects tend to be slow and need proper user testing, because otherwise the users won't be able to work at all. Usually there are user machine issues that need to be rectified temporarily by disabling the 802.1 x protocol authentication on the switchport of the affected user and after couple days, no one knows, where the security is applied and where it is not.


With IP Fabric's platform, finding information about the ports secured by 802.1 x protocol is easy, and you can specify verification to tell you which network edge ports, connecting to end stations, are open and which are secured properly. For example, simple verification could do this:

  • Physical and edge ports with applied security method other than “dot1x” should be colored orange.
  • Physical ports with applied security method of “dot1x” should be colored green.
  • All other interfaces we don't care and should be colored as blue.

Setup is actually trivial, with the most complicated part being the selection of what is physical and what is virtual interface. Good news is, that we've configured this already for you. The actual outcome of this verification looks like this:

802.1 x protocol Interfaces Verification
802.1x Interfaces Verification

Instead of manually verifying every interface or developing custom script for every platform out there, hundreds of hours of engineering time can be saved using this continuous verification instead. Also, it can be used as an evidence of how the 802.1 x protocol rollout project is proceeding and that the network is properly secured and there are no open interfaces, that would render your network insecure.

This will ensure the setup of the Interfaces on all devices in the network. In regards to the other part — RADIUS server configuration — this was covered in one of the recent articles, so you may check it out to create similar specific rules that will configure IP Fabric to verify your specific AAA needs consistently in a matter of seconds.

If you’re interested in learning more about how IP Fabric’s platform can help you with analytics or intended network behavior reporting, contact us through our website, request a demo, follow this blog or sign up for our webinars.


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