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Operating a Federation Level RADIUS server (FLR)

Federation Level RADIUS (FLR) servers are used to connect eduroam Identity Providers and eduroam Service Providers with each other, and also provide an uplink from the federation to all other eduroam federations. They are managed by Roaming Operators (ROs). The RO may outsource the operation to a third-party, but will remain responsible.

Since the concept of an eduroam federation geographically usually maps to a territory or economy, FLRs are central to the deployment of eduroam; there is conceptually only one FLR per RO territory - but for resiliency reasons, it is recommended to provide multiple instances in a failover setup.

An eduroam federation comes with administrative requirements as well as technical ones. The exact requirements may differ between federations. This document uses the European definitions and documents; which provide a baseline for the world-wide eduroam community.

Hardware requirements

RADIUS is a very lightweight protocol, and does not require expensive hardware setups. Even the busiest eduroam federations operate their server on a single contemporary hardware or Virtual Machine, without experiencing overload conditions.

As with every other professionally-operated service though, you should keep in mind that service uptime is paramount, and plan your procurement accordingly. Examples:

  • In the case of virtual machines, use an underlying infrastructure which enables you to migrate machines without VM downtime, if possible.
  • In the case of physical machines, use hot-pluggable parts where possible; and ideally, keep either spare hardware parts at hand or a set up a decent service contract.

eduroam Europe is in the process of migrating to RADIUS/TLS for its federation servers. In the course of this process, hardware requirements for the servers may change. This section will be updated as necessary.

Software requirements and setup

eduroam does not prescribe any particular RADIUS implementation. The technical requirements for eduroam however narrow the set of usable RADIUS server implementations, and the observed deployment of eduroam federation-level servers shows patterns regarding implementation popularity.

This section will present a few typical implementation setups. Note, however, that a federation is free to use a different implementation so long as the implementation can satisfy the eduroam technical requirements.

The sections for each implementation are accompanied by a skeleton configuration file, which should be usable almost as-is. However, please read and try to understand the entire corresponding section before applying the template - the information presented is valuable for daily operation and troubleshooting.

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