Cisco access-point authorization

Besides doing (traditional) dot1X on the wired switchport on which a access-point is connected, it is also possible to let the wireless controller authorize access-points within the join process. This post gives the necessary configuration for the use of a external AAA RADIUS server (ISE) within this process for AirOS and IOS-XE wireless controllers.

1. AirOS
(2504) >config radius auth add 1 1812 ascii Pr3sh@r3dk3y
(2504) >config radius auth network 1 enable
(2504) >config macfilter radius-compat cisco
(2504) >config auth-list ap-policy authorize-ap username ap-mac
(2504) >config auth-list ap-policy authorize-ap enable

CAT1(config)#aaa new-model
CAT1(config)#radius server AAA-RADIUS-ISE01
CAT1(config-radius-server)#address ipv4 auth-port 1812 acct-port 1813
CAT1(config-radius-server)#key 0 Pr3sh@r3dk3y
CAT1(config)#aaa group server radius AAA-GRP-ISE
CAT1(config-sg-radius)#server name AAA-RADIUS-ISE01
CAT1(config-sg-radius)#subscriber mac-filtering security-mode mac
CAT1(config)#ap auth-list ap-policy authorize-ap
CAT1(config)#aaa authorization network default group AAA-GRP-ISE

3. ISE
While I was performing some testing there where two things which caught my attention on the ISE logging:
1) By default IOS-XE will send a blank password which ISE does not understand (fix for this is the “subscriber mac-filtering security-mode mac” command)
2) In ISE the AirOS authentication requests showed up as MAB method, while the requests from IOS-XE used the PAP_ASCII method. Despite some research I was unable to find a way to change this on the IOS-XE side. I ended up with the following configuration to support both platforms within the same set of rules:

Allowed protocols
Authentication policy
Authorization policy