What is the definition of RADIUS? Some may say the distance between the center of a circle and its perimeter. That is the correct answer in mathematics, but the capitalized letters probably indicated that this is an acronym. We’re not talking about math. In fact, it’s the IT definition we’re after. In IT, RADIUS is a networking protocol. Let’s go ahead and explore the definition of RADIUS.
RADIUS is an acronym for Remote Authentication Dial-In Service; it is a network connection protocol operating on port 1812 that enables end users’ ability to authorize and authenticate to to remote networks. This system ensures that a user with the correct credentials can “dial-in” (remember, this was all happening in the 1990s) to remote networks as well as routers, switches, and VPNs. In a modern use case scenario, RADIUS provides advanced security to WiFi networks since it requires unique credentials rather than shared SSID/password combinations.
RADIUS History, an Overview
RADIUS was developed as a part of the 1987 initiative of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand internet usage and ease of use to the general public. Expanding Internet usage would mean expanding NSF’s own network, NSFnet. Long story short, a non-profit named Merit won the contract to expand NSFnet.
Merit’s expertise was established by connecting university and college mainframes throughout the state of Michigan in the 90s. Merit started with three universities: the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State. Users at the U of M were able to remotely dial-in to modems at Michigan State and Wayne State and vice versa. By 1990, Merit had connected most of the college and universities in Michigan by leveraging their own proprietary authentication protocol. But, because NSFnet’s network was based on the Internet Protocol (IP), Merit needed to update their dial-in authentication protocol to support it. This was done to maintain the functionality of allowing different universities to dial into their university counterpart’s modems (Interlink Networks).
So, Merit issued an RFI (request for information) and waited for responses to their needs and requirements. A lot of the companies and (Read more...)