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AAA
Authentication Authorization Accounting

In IP security, AAA stands for “Authentication, Authorization and Accounting”.

An AAA server makes sure protected data can only be accessed by authorized people or systems. A RADIUS server is used to authenticate users, particularly against an LDAP server, allowing you to centralize user information stored in the LDAP server and authenticated by the RADIUS server, thereby both reducing administrative overhead on user management and making the remote login process more secure.

It allows a network access server (NAS) to perform authentication, authorization, and accounting for users. RADIUS is a client/server protocol based on UDP. The RADIUS client, the network access server, is typically a router, switch, or wireless access point (access points are specially configured nodes on networks; WAPs are wireless versions).

Authentication
Authentication refers to the confirmation that a user who is requesting services is a valid user of the network services requested. Authentication is accomplished via the presentation of an identity and credentials. Examples of types of credentials are passwords, one-time tokens, digital certificates, and phone numbers (calling/called).

Authorization
Authorization refers to the granting of specific types of service (including "no service") to a user, based on their authentication, what services they are requesting, and the current system state. Authorization may be based on restrictions, for example time-of-day restrictions, or physical location restrictions, or restrictions against multiple logins by the same user. Authorization determines the nature of the service which is granted to a user. Examples of types of service include, but are not limited to: IP address filtering, address assignment, route assignment, QoS/differential services, bandwidth control/traffic management, compulsory tunneling to a specific endpoint, and encryption.

Accounting
Accounting refers to the tracking of the consumption of network resources by users. This information may be used for management, planning, billing, or other purposes. Real-time accounting refers to accounting information that is delivered concurrently with the consumption of the resources. Batch accounting refers to accounting information that is saved until it is delivered at a later time. Typical information that is gathered in accounting is the identity of the user, the nature of the service delivered, when the service began, and when it ended.

Links

RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service)
Diameter the proposed successor to RADIUS
EAP Extensible Authentication Protocol
Generic-AAA-Architecture
AAA-Authorization-Framework
AAA-Authorization-Application-Examples
AAA-Authorization-Requirements
AAA Transport-Profile
PKI: Public Key Infrastructure

Open Source

FreeRADIUS
OpenRADIUS
Open Diameter
Open1x and xsupplicant