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A Network Access Server (NAS) is a system that provides access to a network. In some cases also known as a Terminal Server or Remote Access Server (RAS).
The client connects to the NAS. The NAS then connects to another resource asking whether the client's supplied credentials are valid. Based on that answer the NAS then allows or disallows access to the protected resource.
The NAS contains no information about what clients can connect or what credentials are valid. All the NAS does is send the credentials the client supplied to a resource which does know how to process the credentials.
The above translates into different implementations for different uses. Here are some examples.
Although not required, NAS are almost exclusively used with AAA servers. Of the AAA protocols available, RADIUS tends to be the most widely used. DIAMETER is a new protocol which extends on RADIUS by providing error handling and inter-domain communications which is starting to be implimented in some high end NAS.
Last edited by Alan T. DeKok, 2011-07-14 11:32:59
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