Connecting the world…

host-mode

MAB and MDA in an IP Phone environment

I blogged before about the MAC Authentication Bypass (MAB) feature in network environments. MAC Authentication Bypass can be used to secure the wired network by verifying MAC addresses to a central database. By using a radius server, like Microsoft IAS or FreeRadius, you can also redirect verified MAC addresses to a specific VLAN.

Lately I had a new challenge with configuring MAB. These time a single switch port is shared by an IP phone and a workstation. The IP phone is used as a kind of switch. The backend switching network is build on Cisco Catalyst switches. All IP phone traffic is handled by the voice VLAN and all data traffic is handled by  the an access VLAN. The IP phones used in this situation are Mitel 5330 phones. These phones support CDP and also LLDP, which is perfect when using a voice VLAN.

The customer would like the MAC addresses of both devices verified against a central database. In this situation I used Microsoft IAS, because the customer is using Microsoft Active Directory as central database. In Active Directory I created an OU structure with an unique OU and security group for every logical group. So I created an OU voice and a security group voice, and I created a group data and an OU data. The MAC addresses of the components need to be added to Active Directory as users. The account name and the password are exactly the same and equal to the MAC address, like 001f22d712ef. I made the account for the IP phone member of the voice group and the account of the workstation member of the data group.

I started with just connecting a single workstation to the switch and configured IAS to verify the MAC address and automatically redirect the workstation to the correct access VLAN. The configuration of IAS is straightforward. First I installed IAS and registered the service in Active Directory. I added the switch as radius client and configured a radius policy for the data connections. The radius policy checks if the MAC address is member of the data group and returns the access VLAN if the MAC address is positively verified. This works without any problems. The screenshots below show the most important configuration of this policy.

data-radius-match data-radius-authentication data-radius-attribute

Next you see the switch configuration so far.

aaa new-model
!
aaa authentication dot1x default group radius
aaa authorization network default group radius
!
dot1x system-auth-control
!
interface FastEthernet0/35
switchport access vlan 102
switchport mode access
switchport nonegotiate
switchport voice vlan 150
authentication control-direction in
authentication port-control auto
authentication periodic
authentication timer restart 900
authentication timer reauthenticate 5400
mab
spanning-tree portfast
spanning-tree bpduguard enable
end

I configured another policy, exactly the same, for the voice components. I disconnected the workstation and connected the IP phone to the network. This also works without any problems. The IP phone is authenticated and allowed access to the network. Next I connected the workstation to the IP phone and booted the workstation. I noticed that the IP phone lost his power and checked the switch port status. The switch port went in err-disable state with the following message:

Feb  5 08:54:50.095 GMT+1: %AUTHMGR-5-SECURITY_VIOLATION: Security violation on the interface FastEthernet0/35, new MAC address (0080.647f.c590) is seen.
Feb  5 08:54:50.095 GMT+1: %AUTHMGR-5-SECURITY_VIOLATION: Security violation on the interface FastEthernet0/35, new MAC address (0080.647f.c590) is seen.
Feb  5 08:54:50.095 GMT+1: %PM-4-ERR_DISABLE: security-violation error detected on Fa0/35, putting Fa0/35 in err-disable state

This is a big problem, because both network components aren’t able to communicate with the network. I did some research and found the Multiple Domain Authentication (MDA) feature. Multiple Domain Authentication (MDA) allows both a data device and a voice device, such as an IP phone (Cisco or non-Cisco), to authenticate on the same switch port, which is divided into a data domain and a voice domain. This feature is configured with the authentication host-mode commands and is very useful when combining IEEE 802.1x and/or MAB in an IP phone environment. The following host-modes can be used:

Single-host mode should be configured if only one data host is connected. Do not connect a voice device to authenticate on a single-host port. Voice device authorization fails if no voice VLAN is configured on the port.

Multi-domain mode should be configured if data host is connected through an IP Phone to the port. Multi-domain mode should be configured if the voice device needs to be authenticated.

Multi-auth mode should be configured to allow up to eight devices behind a hub to obtain secured port access through individual authentication. Only one voice device can be authenticated in this mode if a voice VLAN is configured.

Multi-host mode also offers port access for multiple hosts behind a hub, but multi-host mode gives unrestricted port access to the devices after the first user gets authenticated.

I tested the multi-host configuration and it did exactly as explained above. Only one device is authenticated and all next device are allowed without authentication. In my situation I have to use multi-domain. I added the configuration line authentication host-mode multi-domain to the interface configuration above. After this I had a new problem. Both devices are authenticated correctly, but the Mitel IP phone got stuck at DHCP Discovery, while the workstation is working correctly.

After some sniffing I saw the Mitel phone sending its DHCP Discovery to the data VLAN, but the phone didn’t receive any DHCP Offer from a DHCP server. Back to the drawing table and I found the solution in the radius configuration. I configured the radius attribute cisco-av-pair in order to tell the switch that the IP phone is allowed on the voice VLAN, see the picture.

MAB-MDAThe following steps are taken during the process:

  1. 1. The IP Phones learns the voice VLAN ID from CDP;
  2. 2. The switch learns the MAC address of the phone and sends an Accept-Request for the phones MAC address to the radius server;
  3. 3. The radius server responds with an Access-Accept and adds the Vendor-Specific Attribute (VSA) Cisco-AV-pair with the value device-traffic-class=voice;
  4. 4. All traffic from the IP Phone is allowed in the voice VLAN and the DHCP process works flawlessly;
  5. 5. The workstation is also authenticated by the radius server and all data traffic is allowed in the data VLAN;

The radius policy for the voice VLAN is almost equal to the radius policy for the data/access VLAN. The only difference is in the radius attributes. Below you see the attributes for the voice radius policy.

voice-radius-attributeI did some testing and the environment is working perfectly. Both devices are authenticated separately from each other. The final configuration of the switch port looks like this:

interface FastEthernet0/35
switchport access vlan 102
switchport mode access
switchport nonegotiate
switchport voice vlan 150
authentication control-direction in
authentication host-mode multi-domain
authentication port-control auto
authentication periodic
authentication timer restart 900
authentication timer reauthenticate 5400
mab
spanning-tree portfast
spanning-tree bpduguard enable
end

Below you see some output from the show authentication sessions command. You can clearly see the domain where the device is authenticated in.

ONLY IP PHONE IS AUTHENTICATED SUCCESSFULLY

switch#show authentication session interface fa 0/35
Interface:  FastEthernet0/35
MAC Address:  0800.0f46.874a
IP Address:  Unknown
User-Name:  08000f46874a
Status:  Authz Success
Domain:  VOICE

Oper host mode:  multi-domain
Oper control dir:  in
Authorized By:  Authentication Server
Session timeout:  5400s (local), Remaining: 5397s
Timeout action:  Reauthenticate
Idle timeout:  N/A
Common Session ID:  0A0A421B00000065C2FF71B0
Acct Session ID:  0x0000014A
Handle:  0x04000065

Runnable methods list:
Method   State
mab      Authc Success

IP PHONE AND WORKSTATION ARE AUTHENTICATED SUCCESSFULLY

switch#show authentication session interface fa 0/35
Interface:  FastEthernet0/35
MAC Address:  0080.647f.c590
IP Address:  Unknown
User-Name:  0080647fc590
Status:  Authz Success
Domain:  DATA

Oper host mode:  multi-domain
Oper control dir:  in
Authorized By:  Authentication Server
Vlan Policy:  102
Session timeout:  5400s (local), Remaining: 5364s
Timeout action:  Reauthenticate
Idle timeout:  N/A
Common Session ID:  0A0A421B00000068C304A7C5
Acct Session ID:  0x0000014D
Handle:  0x56000068

Runnable methods list:
Method   State
mab      Authc Success

—————————————-
Interface:  FastEthernet0/35
MAC Address:  0800.0f46.874a
IP Address:  Unknown
User-Name:  08000f46874a
Status:  Authz Success
Domain:  VOICE

Oper host mode:  multi-domain
Oper control dir:  in
Authorized By:  Authentication Server
Session timeout:  5400s (local), Remaining: 5340s
Timeout action:  Reauthenticate
Idle timeout:  N/A
Common Session ID:  0A0A421B00000067C3043675
Acct Session ID:  0x0000014C
Handle:  0xE2000067

Runnable methods list:
Method   State
mab      Authc Success

IP PHONE IS AUTHENTICATED SUCCESSFULLY, WORKSTATION ISN’T

switch#show authentication session interface fa 0/35
Interface:  FastEthernet0/35
MAC Address:  0080.647f.c590
IP Address:  Unknown
User-Name:  UNRESPONSIVE
Status:  Authz Failed
Domain:  DATA

Oper host mode:  multi-domain
Oper control dir:  in
Session timeout:  N/A
Idle timeout:  N/A
Common Session ID:  0A0A421B00000066C300CB6C
Acct Session ID:  0x0000014B
Handle:  0xEB000066

Runnable methods list:
Method   State
mab      Failed over

—————————————-
Interface:  FastEthernet0/35
MAC Address:  0800.0f46.874a
IP Address:  Unknown
User-Name:  08000f46874a
Status:  Authz Success
Domain:  VOICE

Oper host mode:  multi-domain
Oper control dir:  in
Authorized By:  Authentication Server
Session timeout:  5400s (local), Remaining: 5261s
Timeout action:  Reauthenticate
Idle timeout:  N/A
Common Session ID:  0A0A421B00000065C2FF71B0
Acct Session ID:  0x0000014A
Handle:  0x04000065

Runnable methods list:
Method   State
mab      Authc Success