How Does RADIUS Server Improve WiFi Security?

Cybersecurity is a rising concern in this era as the world moves towards further digitalization and more robust technology. However, whenever it is being discussed, cybersecurity mostly sounds like a large-scale concern. After all, most cybersecurity incidents in the headlines are about massive data breaches and DDoS attacks paralyzing corporations. Among all this, it is easy to forget that the concern can also reach our very homes.


The average home has seen more and more technological upgrades in the past few years. All of the smart appliances for the home require an internet connection, which is provided by your local WiFi network. The WiFi can act as a single access point for all of the connected devices, and its hijacking can potentially lead to your sensitive information being leaked.


Various WiFi security measures are available to avoid compromising your network, such as setting up a RADIUS server for authentication. This article explains the pros that come with employing a RADIUS server to secure your WiFi connection and the multiple different ways you can set it up.

WIFI Security using a RADIUS Server

Understanding WiFi Security And Its Concerns

WiFi essentially refers to a wireless LAN created to extend internet services to multiple devices simultaneously. It has become the most common form of wireless technology present in our daily lives. WiFi networks can be of varying strengths as well, such as those used in homes to more robust networks used in more crowded places to handle many more devices. When it comes to WiFi security, networks in public places are often the most compromising ones.


There are various general guidelines that an administrator can employ to keep their WiFi network secure. Such guidelines include:


  • Keeping Your WiFi Router’s Firmware Updated: The ‘firmware’ is the low-level software needed to run relatively simple hardware, like remote controls and medical devices. The WiFi router’s firmware needs to be updated with the most recent hardware and security improvements.


  • Keep A Strong Password: Having a solid access password is critical to keep threats and unwanted devices away. Generally, a long alphanumeric password with special characters is considered the most robust kind of password.


  • Regularly Change Your Password: Just having a strong password is not enough. Many security professionals suggest regularly changing your WiFi password to avoid it being guessed and used for long. Manually changing the password is often tedious, and many administrators use scripts to automate the process.


  • Use Methods To Encrypt Data Transferred Through WiFi: While the other steps offer a certain degree of safety, they are often not enough. Hence, most modern WiFi comes equipped with the ability to encrypt the data transferred through it. The most popular encryption methods are the WPA3 Personal and WPA2 Personal.


The issue of WiFi security falls in the broader category of wireless network security. Most wireless networks can be easily connected to multiple devices and serve as the central point for damaging those devices or accessing them forcefully. Throughout the history of wireless networks, robust security protocols have been developed to protect them from potential threats. However, the threats have gotten trickier and require more complex protection.


The above steps are pretty standard for all different levels of WiFi networks. However, it is obvious that their adoption can get complex and more tedious if the network is scaled up and more devices try to connect.

Using RADIUS Server Protocol For WiFi Security

The best step to maximize a WiFi network’s security would be to set up a dedicated authentication and authorization protocol, such as the RADIUS server protocol. One of the most commonly used security protocols on the internet, a RADIUS server protocol, offers many crucial advantages that ensure all connections to a WiFi network are safe and authorized. Due to its popularity, many cloud services can help users understand what a RADIUS server is.  


Once the access points to the RADIUS server and its infrastructure have been set up, maintaining and monitoring the system becomes the only work. Signing onto a WiFi network through a RADIUS server involves entering your dedicated credentials, which then are authenticating using a database. Once authentication is successful, the user can log on and access the network as needed.


As its implementation and maintenance are among the only challenges associated with setting up a RADIUS server, many services offer it packaged in an as-a-service model. Apart from being used for WiFi security, the RADIUS server protocol is also used for securing cloud IT resources. Many resources help answer the question of how to set up a Radius server on the cloud.


Most large-scale WiFi networks use RADIUS server protocol to avoid any security vulnerabilities. With so many devices to authenticate and provide seamless internet access to, dedicating resources to the safety of the network becomes a no-brainer. Even if someone wants to scale up their wireless network, setting up a RADIUS server for its protection is a very viable option.

Improvements To WiFi Security Through RADIUS Server

Using a RADIUS server radically improves the security strength of a WiFi network. Apart from that, the seamlessness of the RADIUS server protocol can potentially improve the user connectivity and experience of the network as well.


Some of the main improvements that a RADIUS server can bring to a WiFi network’s security are:


  • Centralized Authentication and Authorization System: Gone are the days when different aspects of a network’s security required a different setup. With a RADIUS server, the administrators get a central system that is easily customizable to the network’s security needs. 


  • One-To-One Authentication Through Dedicated Credentials: A RADIUS server gives all users dedicated credentials that are saved on a database for authentication. Such a step eliminates scenarios such as password-sharing or informing all users of any changed passwords. Every user maintains their credentials. 


  • Gathering Usage Data Through Auditing User Sessions: Apart from authentication and authorization, a RADIUS server also provides auditing functionalities. Data about user sessions, like user ID, session durations, and the amount of data exchanged, can be monitored and stored. In the case of any calamity, the records come in handy to search for the causes.


  • Proxy Access To Other RADIUS Servers: A RADIUS server itself can be used to connect with another RADIUS server. It can also redirect traffic to other RADIUS servers if they are present on the network.


The advantages given above can significantly improve your WiFi security and protect it against many different harmful scenarios. Such pros are among the main reasons people inquire how to set up a RADIUS server for their use.

A Secure WiFi Made Possible With RADIUS Server

The increasing popularity of wireless networks is driving amazing innovation. IoT, 5G, and LiFi are some of the most exciting new upcoming technological advancements. However, securing these advancements is also going to be quite a challenge. If not secured properly, these powerful technologies can be quickly taken advantage of and abused in different ways.


In the case of WiFi security, there is at least the RADIUS server protocol that can be depended on. It can provide many benefits that large-scale WiFi networks and small-scale personal networks can both utilize. Apart from the RADIUS server protocol, there are several other security strategies that you may use as well.

Avatar for Emad Bin Abid
Emad Bin Abid

I'm a software engineer who has a bright vision and a strong interest in designing and engineering software solutions. I readily understand that in today's agile world the development process has to be rapid, reusable, and scalable; hence it is extremely important to develop solutions that are well-designed and embody a well-thought-of architecture as the baseline. Apart from designing and developing business solutions, I'm a content writer who loves to document technical learnings and experiences so that peers in the same industry can also benefit from them.

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