802.1X: The Gold Standard of Network Authentication Protocols

802.1x portnox

What is 802.1X?

IEEE 802.1x is a standard for port-based network access control (PNAC) that determines how to manage authentication for endpoints to connect to each other on a LAN. It can be used to manage access for both wired and wireless networks. It is broadly utilized at both company headquarters and branch enterprise networks to ensure secure endpoint authentication and network access control. 

How does the 802.1X protocol work?

  • Initiation: The authentication or supplicant conveys a session initiation request. A supplicant conveys an EAP-response message to the authenticator, which summarizes the message and forwards it to the authentication server. 
  • Authentication: To validate several pieces of information, messages pass between the authentication server and the supplicant through the authenticator. 
  • Authorization: Once the credentials are verified, the authentication server informs the authenticator to provide the supplicant access to the port. 
  • Accounting: User and device details, session types, service details and session records are kept by RADIUS accounting. 
  • Termination: The termination of sessions is done by disconnecting the endpoint device or using management software.  

Why is 802.1X authentication important?

802.1X is the golden standard of network authentication security. It can stop over-the-air theft attacks, and is more secure than Pre-Shared Key (PSK) environments common among personal networks. 

Governments, individuals, and large organizations alike all require strong network security, beginning with network authentication and access control. Securing all aspects of online data and information has become essential with the increased reliance on technology, and as corporate networks continue to expand, data security continues to be one of the most critical issues for organizations to consider.  

While no network is immune to attacks, an efficient and stable network security apparatus is important to protect client data. A strong network security system helps limit the risk of falling victim to data theft and can help to guarantee that shared data across an enterprise network is securely kept. 

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