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Understanding Server Fail Fallback and Authentication on MX Series Routers in Enhanced LAN Mode

Starting with Junos OS Release 14.2, server fail fallback allows you to specify how end devices connected to the router are supported if the RADIUS authentication server becomes unavailable or sends a RADIUS access-reject message.

Juniper Networks MX Series routers in enhanced LAN mode use authentication to implement access control in an enterprise network. If 802.1X, MAC RADIUS, or captive portal authentication are configured on the interface, end devices are evaluated at the initial connection by an authentication (RADIUS) server. If the end device is configured on the authentication server, the device is granted access to the LAN and the MX Series router opens the interface to permit access.

A RADIUS server timeout occurs if no RADIUS authentication servers are reachable when an end device logs in and attempts to access the LAN. Server fail fallback allows you to specify one of four actions to be taken toward end devices awaiting authentication when the server is timed out:

  • Permit authentication, allowing traffic to flow from the end device through the interface as if the end device were successfully authenticated by the RADIUS server.

  • Deny authentication, preventing traffic from flowing from the end device through the interface. This is the default.

  • Move the end device to a specified VLAN. (The VLAN must already exist on the router.)

  • Sustain authenticated end devices that already have LAN access and deny unauthenticated end devices. If the RADIUS servers time out during reauthentication, previously authenticated end devices are reauthenticated and new users are denied LAN access.

Server fail fallback is triggered most often during reauthentication when the already configured and in-use RADIUS server becomes inaccessible. However, server fail fallback can also be triggered by an end device’s first attempt at authentication through the RADIUS server.

Server fail fallback allows you to specify that an end device be moved to a specified VLAN if the router receives a RADIUS access-reject message. The configured VLAN name overrides any attributes sent by the server.

Release History Table
Release
Description
14.2
Starting with Junos OS Release 14.2, server fail fallback allows you to specify how end devices connected to the router are supported if the RADIUS authentication server becomes unavailable or sends a RADIUS access-reject message.