Network access control authentication: Are you ready for 802.1X?

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There are definitely differences in the tools, and if guest access is important, you should carefully review what types of guests, registrations and sponsorships are included with each product. Juniper UAC meets the most basic requirements, while Forescout CounterACT does the best job without charging more, with the other NAC products we tested coming somewhere in-between.

If all of these authentication options seem confusing, don't worry. They are confusing. Even with a week spent on each product, we found lots of special cases that we didn't have time to configure and test. The key to deciding which of these products will work best in your network is planning ahead.

In some cases, products offer lots of authentication options that don't meld well together. In other cases, though, we found that having multiple options, such as doing 802.1X, MAC-based authentication, client-based authentication or Web-based authentication all in the same product, flowed together fairly naturally and gave the potential for a lot of flexibility in deployment. The hard part is telling the difference between products that specialize in confusion and ones that legitimately have a broad range of authentication options.

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Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

This story, "Network access control authentication: Are you ready for 802.1X?" was originally published by Network World.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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