Security Configuration Guide, Cisco IOS XE Release 3SE (Cisco WLC 5700 Series)
Configuring Cisco TrustSec
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Configuring Cisco TrustSec

Configuring Cisco TrustSec

Information about Cisco TrustSec

Cisco TrustSec provides security improvements to Cisco network devices based on the capability to strongly identify users, hosts, and network devices within a network. TrustSec provides topology-independent and scalable access controls by uniquely classifying data traffic for a particular role. TrustSec ensures data confidentiality and integrity by establishing trust among authenticated peers and encrypting links with those peers.

The key component of Cisco TrustSec is the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE). Cisco ISE can provision switches with TrustSec Identities and Security Group ACLs (SGACLs), though these may be configured manually on the switch.

Finding Feature Information

To configure Cisco Trustsec on the switch, see the Cisco TrustSec Switch Configuration Guide at the following URL:


Release notes for Cisco TrustSec General Availability releases are at the following URL:


Additional information about the Cisco TrustSec solution, including overviews, datasheets, features by platform matrix, and case studies, is available at the following URL:


Cisco TrustSec Features

The table below lists the TrustSec features to be eventually implemented on TrustSec-enabled Cisco switches. Successive general availability releases of TrustSec will expand the number of switches supported and the number of TrustSec features supported per switch.

Cisco TrustSec Feature Description
802.1AE Tagging (MACsec)

Protocol for IEEE 802.1AE-based wire-rate hop-to-hop Layer 2 encryption.

Between MACsec-capable devices, packets are encrypted on egress from the transmitting device, decrypted on ingress to the receiving device, and in the clear within the devices.

This feature is only available between TrustSec hardware-capable devices.

Endpoint Admission Control (EAC)

EAC is an authentication process for an endpoint user or a device connecting to the TrustSec domain. Usually EAC takes place at the access level switch. Successful authentication and authorization in the EAC process results in Security Group Tag assignment for the user or device. Currently EAC can be 802.1X, MAC Authentication Bypass (MAB), and Web Authentication Proxy (WebAuth).

Network Device Admission Control (NDAC)

NDAC is an authentication process where each network device in the TrustSec domain can verify the credentials and trustworthiness of its peer device. NDAC utilizes an authentication framework based on IEEE 802.1X port-based authentication and uses EAP-FAST as its EAP method. Successful authentication and authorization in NDAC process results in Security Association Protocol negotiation for IEEE 802.1AE encryption.

Security Group Access Control List (SGACL)

A Security Group Access Control List (SGACL) associates a Security Group Tag with a policy. The policy is enforced upon SGT-tagged traffic egressing the TrustSec domain.

Security Association Protocol (SAP)

After NDAC authentication, the Security Association Protocol (SAP) automatically negotiates keys and the cipher suite for subsequent MACSec link encryption between TrustSec peers. SAP is defined in IEEE 802.11i.

Security Group Tag (SGT)

An SGT is a 16-bit single label indicating the security classification of a source in the TrustSec domain. It is appended to an Ethernet frame or an IP packet.

SGT Exchange Protocol (SXP) 1

Security Group Tag Exchange Protocol (SXP). With SXP, devices that are not TrustSec-hardware-capable can receive SGT attributes for authenticated users and devices from the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) or the Cisco Secure Access Control System (ACS). The devices can then forward a sourceIP-to-SGT binding to a TrustSec-hardware-capable device will tag the source traffic for SGACL enforcement.

1 including SXPv2 in the context of Cisco TrustSec MACsec

When both ends of a link support 802.1AE MACsec, SAP negotiation occurs. An EAPOL-key exchange occurs between the supplicant and the authenticator to negotiate a cipher suite, exchange security parameters, and manage keys. Successful completion of these tasks results in the establishment of a security association (SA).

Depending on your software version and licensing and link hardware support, SAP negotiation can use one of these modes of operation:
  • Galois Counter Mode (GCM)—authentication and encryption
  • GCM authentication (GMAC)— GCM authentication, no encryption
  • No Encapsulation—no encapsulation (clear text)
  • Null—encapsulation, no authentication or encryption

Feature Information for Cisco TrustSec

Table 1 Feature Information for Cisco TrustSec

Feature Name


Feature Information

  • NDAC
  • SXPv1, SXPv2
  • SGT
  • SGACL Layer2 Enforcement
  • Interface to SGT and VLAN to SGT mapping.
  • Subnet to SGT mapping
  • Layer 3 Port Mapping (PM)
  • Layer 3 Identity Port Mapping (IPM)
  • Security Group Name Download
  • SXP Loop Detection
  • Policy-based CoA

Cisco IOS XE 3.3SE

These features were introduced on the Catalyst 3850 and 3650 switches and the Cisco 5700 Series Wireless LAN Controllers.

SXPv1 and SXPv2

Cisco IOS XE 15.0(2)EX

SXP is introduced on the Catalyst 2960-X switch.

SXPv1 and SXPv2

Cisco IOS XE 15.0(2)EX1

SXP is introduced on the Catalyst 2960-XR switch.