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Updated:December 12, 2018
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Configure Active Directory Guest Authentication on WAP125 or WAP581
Active Directory (AD) guest authentication allows a client to configure a captive portal infrastructure to use their internal Windows Directory Service for authentication. Captive Portal is a feature that allows an administrator to block clients connecting to the Wireless Access Point (WAP) network until they are granted access onto the network. Clients are directed to a web page for authentication and conditions of access before they are able to connect to the network. Captive Portal verification is for both guests and authenticated users of the network. This feature makes use of the web browser and turns it into an authentication device.
Captive portal instances are a defined set of configurations used to authenticate clients on the WAP network. Instances can be configured to respond in different ways to users as they attempt to access the associated virtual access points. Captive portals are often employed at Wi-Fi hotspot locations to ensure users agree to terms and conditions as well as provide security credentials prior to gaining access to the Internet.
To support AD Authentication the WAP will need to communicate with one to three Windows Domain Controllers to provide authentication. It can support multiple domains for authentication by choosing domain controllers from different AD domains.
The objective of this document is to show you how to configure the AD guest authentication on the WAP125 or WAP581.
Configure Active Directory Guest Authentication
Step 1. Log in to the web configuration utility of the WAP by entering the username, and password. The default username and password is cisco/cisco. If you have configured a new username or password, enter the credentials instead. Click Login.
NOTE: In this article, the WAP125 is used to demonstrate the configuration of AD guest authentication. Menu options may slightly vary depending on the model of your device.
Step 2. Choose Access Control > Guest Access.
Step 3. In the Guest Access Instance Table, you can either add a new Guest Access Instance or edit an existing one. The Guest Access feature of the WAP125 or WAP581 access point provides wireless connectivity to temporary wireless clients within the range of the device. It works by having the access point broadcast two different Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs): one for the main network, and the other for the guest network. Guests are then redirected to a Captive Portal where they are required to enter their credentials. In effect, this keeps the main network secure while still giving guests access to the Internet.
The settings of the Captive Portal are configured at the Guest Access Instance Table of the web-based utility of the WAP. The Guest Access feature is particularly useful in hotel and office lobbies, restaurants, and malls.
In this example, a new Guest Access instance is added by clicking on the plus icon.
Step 4. Name the Guest Access Instance. In this example, it is called AD_authentication.
Step 5. Choose the Authentication Method as Active Directory Service.
Step 6. Once you choose Active Directory Service as the Authentication Method, the Protocol changes from Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
NOTE: It is very important that a client should configure the captive portal page to use HTTPS and not HTTP as the former is more secure. If a client chooses HTTP, they can inadvertently expose usernames and passwords by transmitting them in unencrypted clear text. It is best practice to use a HTTPS captive portal page.
Step 7. Configure the IP address of the AD server by clicking the blue eye icon next to the Active Directory Service in the Authentication Method column.
Step 8. A new window will open up. Enter the IP address for the AD server. In this example, the Host IP address used is 172.16.1.35. As an optional step, you can click on Test to verify that it is valid.
Step 9. (Optional) Once you click on Test in the previous step, another pop-up window will open and you can enter the Username and Password of the user in AD and click on Begin test.
If it is valid, it will pass the test and the following screen will appear. This confirms that you can connect to the domain controller and authenticate.
NOTE: You can add up to 3 AD servers.
Step 10. Save the changes.
Step 11. Go to the Menu and choose Wireless > Networks
Step 12. Choose the network and specify that it will choose AD as the Guest Access Instance for authentication. Click Save.
Step 13. To connect to the guest wireless network using AD authentication, go the wireless option on your personal computer (PC) and select the network that has been configured for AD authentication and click Connect.
Step 14. Once connected, a web browser window will open up with the standard security certificate warning. Click on Go on to the webpage.
NOTE: The screen may appear differently based on the browser you are using.
Step 15. The Captive Portal page is launched. Check the Acceptance Use Policy box to accept the policy and enter the Username and Password of the user in AD. Click Connect to connect to the network.
NOTE: If there are multiple domains, then the username will include the domain name\username. In this example, it is ciscotest\test1.
Step 16. You are now authenticated and have internet access.
You should now have successfully configured the active directory guest authentication on WAP125 or WAP581 and verified its functionality.