Media-Level Network Access Control

Businesses rely on their data networks to serve customers efficiently and increase revenues. Organizations also extend network connectivity to staff who work at home business partners in dispersed locations through remote access and extranet VPNs. Consultants and contractors are able to access corporate network resources using the same LAN and WAN connections as regular employees. The threat of network service disruption by unauthorized sources grows as network reliability and security become more critical.

Access control mechanisms help reduce the likelihood of intrusion from threats such as Internet worms and viruses, as well as unauthorized access. Cisco IOS Software now offers network access control at the media access level (Layer 2) through implementation of the 802.1x protocol.

802.1x is an IEEE standard for media-level access control that enables network engineers to:

  • Permit or deny network connectivity
  • Control VLAN access and apply traffic policy based on user or machine identity