Setting up external Radius server for Hotspot authentication

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Main Page > General Information > Configuration Examples > WIFI > Setting up external Radius server for Hotspot authentication


In this example we will perform a basic external Radius server configuration and test it with RUT device for Hotspot authentication. We will use freeradius package to set up a local Radius server on Ubuntu operating system. A router with a public IP address will be directly connected to the Radius server and forward authentication requests to a LAN IP address of the server via default Radius ports.


  • RUT1 - Router with a Public IP address to make local server able to accept external authentication requests
  • Ubuntu machine - To host a local freeradius server
  • RUT2 - To configure Hotspot and test Radius authentication method using our installed server

Preparing Ubuntu machine

Installing the server

Firstly, update the package list and upgrade to the latest packages:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Next, install freeradius package:

sudo apt install freeradius

Defining a Client

Client - Hotspot that will use freeradius to authenticate users. In order to add/edit clients, we need to access clients.conf file, use your favourite text editor to access it:

sudo nano /etc/freeradius/3.0/clients.conf

For this example we will add the following lines in order to accept any IP address as a client:

client {
     secret = demosecret
     shortname =

Note: IP of a specific Public IP of the client can be used instead of

Defining a User and Password

Before we create a user and password, let us use MD5 encryption instead of a clear text password. We will generate MD5 encryption for demo123 password using the following command:

echo -n demo123| md5sum | awk '{print $1}'

We will now define credentials for user demo. Use your favourite text editor to open users file:

sudo nano /etc/freeradius/3.0/users

Add required lines to the file:

demo     MD5-Password:= "62cc2d8b4bf2d8728120d052163a77df"
        Reply-Message := "%{User-Name} authenticated successfully"

Once these changes are made, start the freeradius service:

sudo /etc/init.d/freeradius start

Preparing RUT1

Main requirements for RUT1:

  • Static Public IP address
  • Static lease set for Ubuntu server
  • Ports 1812 and 1813 forwarding to local Ubuntu server

Firstly, let us set a static lease for the Ubuntu machine running Radius server and configure port forwarding:

  • Login to WebUI and navigate to Network → Interfaces → LAN

Networking Radius server LAN edit v2.png

  • Add a static lease to the MAC address of Ubuntu machine.

Networking Radius server Static lease v1.png

  • Navigate to Network → Firewall → Port Forwards and add two new rules to forward 1812 and 1813 ports from WAN to Radius server on the same ports.

Networking Radius server Port forwards v1.png

Radius server is now set with basic configuration and ready to be tested with RUT2 to authenticate Hotspot users.

Preparing RUT2

Setting up Hotspot

Main requirements for RUT2:

  • Internet connection
  • Hotspot service

In order to start our Hotspot, we need to create a Wifi access point without a dedicated interface nor with any authentication:

  • Navigate to Network → Wireless and click add
  • Select "--No network--" in General setup → Network

Networking Radius server wireless general v1.png

  • Select "No encryption" in Wireless security → Encryption
  • Save & Apply

Networking Radius server wireless security v1.png

  • Navigate to Services → Hotspot (Or install the package if it is not present by navigating to Services → Package Manager)
  • Add new Hotspot instance by selecting Wireless access point created earlier
  • Enable the Hotspot and select Radius as Authentication mode in General settings.

Networking Radius server hotspot general v1.png

  • Go to Radius menu, insert Public IP of the Radius server (RUT1 WAN IP address) and Radius secret key we created for the client before.

Networking Radius server Radius hotspot settings v1.png

Our configuration is complete.

Testing Authentication

Now that we have the setup configured, we can test if the server authenticates the users.

In order to see authentication requests on the server side:

a. Run radius server in debug mode by first disabling the freeradius service using command

sudo /etc/init.d/freeradius stop

and then running the following command:

sudo freeradius -X

b. Tail the log file using the following command:

sudo tail -f /var/log/freeradius/radius.log

Once we see the logs, we can connect to the Hotspot using user credentials defined from either a smartphone or another computer:

  • Connect to the wireless network

Networking Radius server wifi login v1.png

  • Login using credentials defined in the Radius server users

Networking Radius server hotspot login web v1.png

  • You should see authorization success window

Networking Radius server hotspot auth success v1.png

  • Logs should show Login OK message

Networking Radius server log message v1.png