On a regular basis, I get the question on how to configure a wireless captive portal without the PEFNG license on the controller. This post is to address this and to show how you can use a wireless captive portal without PEFNG license. Notice, I always recommend using PEFNG license. Not to use PEFNG should only be an exception.
Captive Portal without PEFNG: What is the PEFNG License
Before we start with the technical part, some words on the PEFNG license. I always recommend getting this license as well. It includes very useful features like the following:
- Fully Stateful Layer 4-7 Firewall
- Fully user and application-aware
- Integration with external RADIUS servers
- and more…
For a full list of features visit www.arubanetworks.com and search for the PEFNG license. Or just use this link to the datasheet:
The main reason I recommend PEFNG is the firewall feature, together with the ability to create individual roles for the users. Without PEFNG you can only use the default roles. But roles are critical and a very important part of security.
Captive portal on ArubaOS depends on roles as well. You use a role to define the URL of the captive portal. This is the reason because a captive portal without PEFNG is tricky. Read further to get it done, even without PEFNG.
Captive Portal without PEFNG: Configuration of a new SSID
I assume you have a VMM (Virtual Mobility Master) and one or multiple MD’s (Managed Devices). I also use the internal captive portal here. But ClearPass should work as well.
To start, log in to the VMM and create a new WLAN. Select the hierarchy level and go to “Configuration–>WLAN” and click the “+” sign:
As you see, I’m in the “Managed Network” hierarchy level. All controllers get the configuration of this new WLAN, due to the hierarchy level. This is just my lab environment, so I expect your production environment to look different. You should have more hierarchy levels.
The configuration of the new WLAN is easy. On the first page of the wizard, you specify the “Name (ssid)” and the “Primary usage”. For the name, you use a meaningful name. This is the name of the SSID as well. The “Primary usage” is “Guest”. Click the “Next” button at the bottom.
Choose the VLAN for the guest clients. A good practice is to not use VLAN 1. I use VLAN 1 for simplicity in my LAB environment. Click the “Next” button.
Select the captive portal you prefer. I use the one with authentication. All the other options should work as well, including ClearPass. you can also customize the captive portal. But this is out of the scope of this post. Click “Next”.
Up to this point, everything is normal. Now, the controller should create a new role. This is the “Default role” on the screen above. remember the name, before clicking “Finish”.
“Submit” the changes and wait for the SSID becoming available.
Captive Portal without PEFNG: Check the Roles
In the meantime, let’s check the role. I use the CLI for this. The CLI give more information. Connect to the MD, not the VMM. The VMM is not aware of the role.
This is the list of all roles on the MD:
(ArubaMC-VA) #show rights RoleTable --------- Name ACL Bandwidth ACL List Type ---- --- --------- -------- ---- ap-role 9 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit System CP-Guest 34 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit CP-Guest/ User cpbase 26 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit cpbase/ User default-iap-user-role 13 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit User denyall 24 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit denyall/ User Gast 30 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit Gast/ User gast_cppm_sg 32 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit gast_cppm_sg/ User guest 7 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit global-sacl/,apprf-guest-sacl/ User guest-logon 12 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit User logon 2 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit User stateful-dot1x 10 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit global-sacl/,apprf-stateful-dot1x-sacl/ System switch-logon 16 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit switch-logon-acl/ System sys-ap-role 14 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit sys-control/,sys-ap-acl/ System sys-switch-role 15 Up: No Limit,Dn: No Limit sys-control/,sys-switch-acl/ System Total Roles:14 (ArubaMC-VA) #
The one from the screen above is not there. But, there is a role with the same name as the SSID. In my case, this is the “CP-Guest” role. Let’s check this role in detail:
(ArubaMC-VA) #show rights CP-Guest Valid = 'Yes' CleanedUp = 'No' Derived Role = 'CP-Guest' Up BW:No Limit Down BW:No Limit L2TP Pool = default-l2tp-pool PPTP Pool = default-pptp-pool Number of users referencing it = 0 Periodic reauthentication: Disabled DPI Classification: Enabled Youtube education: Disabled Web Content Classification: Enabled IP-Classification Enforcement: Enabled ACL Number = 34/0 Openflow: Enabled Max Sessions = 65535 Check CP Profile for Accounting = TRUE Captive Portal profile = CP-Guest Application Exception List -------------------------- Name Type ---- ---- Application BW-Contract List ---------------------------- Name Type BW Contract Id Direction ---- ---- ----------- -- --------- access-list List ---------------- Position Name Type Location -------- ---- ---- -------- 1 CP-Guest session CP-Guest -------- Priority Source Destination Service Application Action TimeRange Log Expired Queue TOS 8021P Blacklist Mirror DisScan IPv4/6 Contract -------- ------ ----------- ------- ----------- ------ --------- --- ------- ----- --- ----- --------- ------ ------- ------ -------- 1 user controller6 svc-https captive Low 6 2 user controller svc-https dst-nat 8081 Low 4 3 user any svc-https captive Low 6 4 user any svc-http captive Low 6 5 any any svc-v6-icmp permit Low 6 6 any any svc-v6-dns permit Low 6 7 any any svc-v6-dhcp permit Low 6 8 user any svc-http dst-nat 8080 Low 4 9 user any svc-https dst-nat 8081 Low 4 10 any any svc-dns permit Low 4 11 any any svc-dhcp permit Low 4 Expired Policies (due to time constraints) = 0 (ArubaMC-VA) #
Much information. The important stuff is the last table. Here are all the rules to redirect the client to a captive portal. You also see the information about the captive portal profile. In the middle, just before the tables starting you find this:
Captive Portal profile = CP-Guest
Let’s check the captive profile as well:
(ArubaMC-VA) #show aaa profile CP-Guest AAA Profile "CP-Guest" ---------------------- Parameter Value --------- ----- Initial role cp-guest-guest-logon MAC Authentication Profile N/A MAC Authentication Server Group default 802.1X Authentication Profile N/A 802.1X Authentication Server Group N/A Download Role from CPPM Disabled Set username from dhcp option 12 Disabled L2 Authentication Fail Through Disabled Multiple Server Accounting Disabled User idle timeout N/A Max IPv4 for wireless user 2 RADIUS Accounting Server Group N/A RADIUS Roaming Accounting Disabled RADIUS Interim Accounting Disabled RFC 3576 server N/A User derivation rules N/A Wired to Wireless Roaming Enabled Device Type Classification Enabled Enforce DHCP Disabled PAN Firewall Integration Disabled Open SSID radius accounting Disabled (ArubaMC-VA) #
Here you can define all the parameters you need to adjust the captive portal. The only thing, which is not correct, the “Initial role”. Adjust this to reflect the correct role. You have to use the one from above, “CP-Guest” (wait and read further before changing the role).
Captive Portal without PEFNG: Create the Correct Role
But here comes the problem. The VMM is not aware of this role. The VMM use the “cp-guest-guest-login” role. If you look into the Web GUI, you will not find any hint of the “CP-Guest” role. You will always see the “cp-guest-guest-login” role. To change this, we create the “CP-Guest” role on the VMM. So, back to the GUI, stay in the same hierarchy level as before. Go to “Configuration–>Roles & Policies” and click the “+” sign:
Create the role with the same name as from the show command in the CLI. Now, the VMM is aware of the role. The last step is to change the initial role for the SSID to the one above. Go to “Configuration–>System–>Profiles” and select the “Wireless LAN–>Virtual AP” profile and look for your “Virtual AP” profile (SSID). Inside your profile search for “AAA”:
Change the “Initial role” to the one from above. “Submit” the changes. Afterwards, connect to the SSID and check for captive portal.
The last part of the above post sounds weird. But it is the only way, I got it working.
To avoid this, just get the PEFNG license as well. It brings much cool stuff and your security colleagues will love it.
Do you always buy the PEFNG license as well? Or you don’t? Tell me why and leave a comment below. If you find this post interesting, leave me a comment and share it with your friends. If you don’t like the post, leave me a comment and share it with your enemy. But whatever you do, leave me a comment, now.
8 thoughts on “Captive Portal without PEFNG License on ArubaOS8”
Thank you for your article!
Nice article, thank you very much. To make things more complicated, is it possible to configure a Clearpass Captive Portal with ArubaOS8 without PEF licenses?
theoretically, this should be possible. but you will not be able to modify any roles on the controller. So I would not recommend it.
As per article it is possible, but I haven´t been able
Does it work on a standalone mobility controller as well?
just to make one thing clear, you should use a PEFNG license when working with Aruba Controllers. If for some reason this is not possible you can get this running without a PEFNG license as well. But this should always be the plan of last resort.
To my knowledge, this should also work with a standalone controller.
Yes, it worked on the standalone controller and it was just a straightforward process as there is no need to edit the role name or anything.