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NRONRO
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FLRFLR

Becoming a Roaming Operator (RO)

An eduroam federation comes with administrative requirements as well as technical ones. This document uses the eduroam Compliance Statement and the European Configuration definitions and documents; which provide a the baseline for the world-wide eduroam community.

Administrative requirements

Operating a federation involves managing and supervising eduroam Identity Providers, eduroam Service Providers, as well as keeping authentication logs, fulfilling uptime requirements, etc. Prospect federation operators should read and understand the requirements in DS5.1.1 ("eduroam Service Definition and Implementation Plan") at http://www.eduroam.org/downloads/docs/GN2-07-327v2-DS5_1_1-_eduroam_Service_Definition.pdf, particularly sections 4.1.4 ("Roles and Responsibilities - NROs") and section 6 ("Requirements on Confederation Members").

A prospect NRO also needs to commit to the eduroam policy. The European eduroam policy document can be found at https://www.eduroam.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/GN3-12-194_eduroam-policy-for-signing_ver2-4_1_18052012.pdf

The RO may outsource the operation of its technical infrastructure (particularly, the Federation Level RADIUS servers) to a third-party, but will remain responsible for eduroam within its service area.

Information management requirements

A Roaming Operator (RO) must maintain a comprehensive overview over eduroam within its service area, and report about its federation's state regularly. The vehicle for such reports is the eduroam database, where information about the RO and all its eduroam SPs and IdPs is stored. The database web interface is open for eduroam operators only; the entry page can be found here: http://monitor.eduroam.org/db_web/

Generic information on how to deliver information to the eduroam database (XML Schema format) can be found here: http://monitor.eduroam.org/database.php

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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monitoringmonitoring

Gauging your federation's performance

Monitoring

It is important to constantly monitor your infrastructure on all levels, in order to react to system failure and see upcoming problems. There is a multitude of monitoring solutions on the market, and it is not possible to describe ways to monitor eduroam infrastructure for all of them; but we have provided a selection below.

First, for Europe, some parts of monitoring are done by the eduroam Operation Team which we will describe in the following section; please contact your own regional operator for the corresponding monitoring solution in your area if you are operating outside Europe.

In the then-following sections, we provide general tips for infrastructure monitoring.

Federation monitoring in Europe: the eduroam Operational Team

When you set up a federation-level RADIUS server, the OT will start monitoring your server availability and will send out email alerts in case of failure. This is done by the OT sending authentication requests for the special realm @eduroam.<TLD> from their monitoring server to your server, and your server is expected to mirror these back to the OT monitoring infrastructure. The technical set-up of this is described in the corresponding HOWTOs for federation-level RADIUS servers.

Server availablitity is tested every hour and the results are summarised on the following web page: http://monitor.eduroam.org/

Note that you can also get more detailed info, including a history, by navigating on the left-hand pane on that website.

There is also a more detailed diagnosis test, where a federation operator can request that a specific path (i.e. from federation A via the European root to federation B) is tested real-time on-demand. The web interface for this testing facility is online at: http://monitor.eduroam.org/inter/test_otm.php (access is restricted to eduroam federation operators only).

Monitoring inside the federation

There are several dimensions to infrastructure monitoring; most of which are unrelated to eduroam: system utilisation, hardware health, network reachability, a.s.o. There are many market solutions to monitor these aspects. It is beneficial to use a monitoring solution which can use plugins to execute some more eduroam-specific monitoring. Nagios and its fork Icinga have proven to be valuable to many eduroam participants, and the following plugins are considered useful.

Nagios/Icinga: EAP Login checks

Preparatory work

The tool "rad_eap_test", which is a frontend to wpa_supplicant's "eapol_test", can be used for scripted authentication checks in Nagios. The added value over eapol_test is that eapol_test requires a configuration file on disk by the time of execution. rad_eap_test is completely command-line driven; it generates a temporary configuration file and deletes it again after eapol_test execution.

You can download rad_eap_test from here: http://www.eduroam.cz/rad_eap_test/

It requires eapol_test, part of wpa_supplicant from here: http://hostap.epitest.fi/

To compile eapol_test, unpack the wpa_supplicant distribution, change into the wpa_supplicant/ subdirectory and create the default config file by executing

Code Block
cp defconfig .config

Then, enable compilation of eapol_test by editing the .config file and setting (i.e. uncommenting)

Code Block
CONFIG_EAPOL_TEST=y

You can then compile eapol_test with

Code Block
make eapol_test

Now, you need to tell the shell script rad_eap_test where to find the eapol_test executable; and tell the eduroam F-Ticks system that these are monitoring-only requests by setting a corresponding MAC address. Edit the rad_eap_test file and replace the lines

Code Block
EAPOL_PROG=<your path to eapol_test here>
MAC="22:44:66:xx:yy:zz" (replace x,y,z with arbitrary values to your liking)

That's it for the prerequisites - we can now start defining Nagios/Icinga checks.

Implementing the checks

You would typically execute the Nagios checks by defining your Nagios server as a client to your FLR server, and send requests for known test accounts of your realms to that server.

You can define check commands like the following:

Code Block
define command{
        command_name    check_eduroam_login
        command_line    $USER1$/rad_eap_test -H <your FLR hostname> -P 1812 -S <shared secret for your Nagios client> -A $ARG1$ -u $ARG2$ -p $ARG3$ -e $ARG4$ -m WPA-EAP -t 7
}

}

and later use the arguments as follows in your individual checks:

  • ARG1 = anonymous outer identity
  • ARG2 = inner username
  • ARG3 = password
  • ARG4 = EAP type (TTLS/PEAP)

You can also define similar checks for other EAP types; simply execute rad_eap_test without arguments to see which parameters it supports.

Example: You want to test a participating realm foobar.aq which uses PEAP, and for which you have the test credentials "testuser" and "testpass", and you want to test whether anonymous outer identities work properly. The corresponding service check is:

Code Block
 define service{
        use                             generic-service
        host_name                       <your FLR server>
        service_description             EDUROAM_FOOBAR
        contact_groups                  ...
        check_command                   check_eduroam_login!@foobar.aq!testuser@foobar.aq!testpass!PEAP
        }

Nagios/Icinga: RADIUS/TLS certificate validity checks

You can use the commodity Nagios plugin "check_ssl_cert" from: https://trac.id.ethz.ch/projects/nagios_plugins/wiki/check_ssl_cert&nbsp;for this purpose. The check command is then:

Code Block
define command {
        command_name = radius_tls
        command_line = $USER1$/check_ssl_cert --host $HOSTADDRESS$ --port 2083 --noauth --warning 14 --critical 3

and will warn you two weeks in advance that your certificate is about to expire when added to the host as a service check.

Statistics

It is also important to measure how successful the service is in your area of responsibility. eduroam Operations has set up a statistics system called F-Ticks, which is able to capture all roaming events both on a national as well as an international level. It does not cover local campus usage though.

If your FLR server is configured to support F-Ticks (it is, if configured according to this cookbook), statistics will be generated automatically for that federation. They are accessible at the following website: http://monitor.eduroam.org/f-ticks/

On that web page, you can find historical evolution of roaming service usage in federations, as well as an overview which realms were most active, and from which countries visitors come from. In the future, detailed views per SP and per IdP can be made available if your federation opts to send the data in the extended detail level. Please contact your federation operator to find out which level of statistics your federation provides.


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