Azure AD authentication on Meraki WiFi

KevinI
Conversationalist

Azure AD authentication on Meraki WiFi

Hi guys,

 

We are working on moving away from our on-premises AD to Azure AD. Part of our current infrastructure is using RADIUS authentication on our WiFi network, linked to our AD.

 

Seeing as using Azure AD directly isn't an option yet for Meraki, have you guys come up with any solutions for this?

 

I've been reading some posts about using a splash page to authenticate against Azure AD, but nothing specific or with a detailed configuration guide.

 

We don't want to spin up a VM in Azure just for this. I'm guessing we are not only ones facing this issue?

79 REPLIES 79
RohitRaj
Meraki Employee

Hello @KevinI ,

At the moment, Meraki does not have a direct integration with Azure AD. However, since Azure AD is cloud-based, you would need to set up some kind of VPN set up anyway (until a direct VPN with Azure can be established). 

I would recommend checking up on the vMX feature of Meraki. Following KB gives you some details on the setup

https://documentation.meraki.com/MX/Installation_Guides/vMX100_Setup_Guide_for_Microsoft_Azure

 

 

If this was helpful, click the Kudos button below.
If your issue was resolved, we request you to mark the post resolved so other users can benefit in future

Hello @RohitRaj I hope you're doing well. Is there any positive updates regarding the Azure AD authentication on Meraki WiFi?

@RohitRaj  azure offers the idea of conditional access based on a compliant device. i'm hoping that Meraki will build in a compliant device check via intune nac.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/mem/intune/protect/network-access-control-integrate

 

and leverage an oauth token to connect to intune

https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler-gateway/12/microsoft-intune-integration/configuring-network-...

 

seedosrun
New here

We too are looking for this since we are moving our devices to Azure AD only.

Complit
Getting noticed

I would not recommend using a splash portal (open ssid) for corporate users. We are looking into a solution with ipsk and Azure. I'll keep you up to date.

sebas
Getting noticed

following, we have the same question. We do not want separate vm's or servers, just Azure AD authentication on our Meraki equipment.

ArneBier
Here to help

This question gets asked a lot on the Cisco ISE Community pages too. The challenge is that Azure AD is not the same as Active Directory (obviously) and the interfaces into Azure AD don't lend themselves to every use case. ISE for example, offers SAML interface to *some* parts of ISE (like Sponsor Portal Login page, or MyDevices Portal page) - but you cannot use Azure AD for things like EAP-PEAP authentication. Why? Because ISE has no native integration for such an external identity source. The closest you can get to that (with ISE) is to use Secure LDAP. But that breaks the password challenge algorithms (MS-CHAPv2) that is commonly used in EAP-PEAP - it cannot work. But the sLDAP integration could be used for non Authentication purposes - e.g. checking for AD Group membership during an EAP-TLS (cert based) authentication.

 

This is a challenge for every vendor and I have yet to come across a AAA vendor who has solved this problem. Be careful when reading that a product "integrates with Azure AD" - it's often very specific use cases only.

 

The solution to all this is probably a new protocol that runs over TLS (https) directly into public cloud providers.  You might want to look at JumpCloud.com to see what they are currently up to.

m841
Here to help

You can use FreeRADIUS to do PEAP auth of users against Azure AD.

@m841 - that's good to know. Do you have actual experience with this? I'd like to learn how this is done. Please post some more information - I have some identities in Azure and a small lab to test with. I am not too familiar with Free Radius - if you have some kind of base config, that would be handy. 🤔

Have it running in production, though it was a while ago that I set it up, and I stupidly didn't even document it for future self. When I get some time I'll see if I can cobble together some steps

Now that the Azure AD DS is out, has someone ventured to setup this with Azure AD DS?

Azure AD DS has been available for some time. The issue that everyone is having is how to tell our glorious RADIUS servers how to use Azure AD DS. Whether FreeRADIUS, Cisco ISE or Clearpass - they all have the same issue.

 

I was on an ISE update session the other day and it was mentioned that ISE has support for SAML integration with Azure AD DS. Of course this only helps us for https (portal based) services, but not at all for EAP-PEAP, etc. - without divulging too much on the ISE roadmap, I believe there may be some work under way to utilise this SAML mechanism for other authentication means.

Hello, did you have a chance to look into the config ? thanks

Hi @SoUnCool 

We dont have any networking setup in azure.

ideally would like to use something that doesn't involve doing adding more complexity 

Tadpole86
Getting noticed

Most of the Cloud Identity providers are just providing simple Username/Password and maybe MFA and masquerading that as full identity management solution. With ZeroTrust, those solutions are missing key components like End-Point posture assessment. O365 offers Intune, but it’s very limited with Macs and has limited end-point capabilities. There are a number of 3rd party offers as well, but now you are operating multiple security policies.

 

We also have lots of clients moving to cloud, but most realize that moving AD is the last thing they want moved. It’s the security ‘Crown Jewels’ and loosing control of that to a cloud provider should be considered as a major potential issue.

Providing 802.1x for NAC from the cloud has many other issues, mostly manifesting with users not getting basic local lan access. 1x can be very chatty in a dynamic environment and any delay above 100ms will cause timeouts resulting with either default guest access for privileged users at best, or no access at all at worst. Both options are sub-optimal.

This is a classic ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’

 

Buyer beware. Just saving $$ should not be the primary driver when it comes to moving identity completely to the cloud.

 

Okta, ping, and the rest of the cloud IAM are nothing more than just a unified SSO middleman, with a pretty front end. Execs love it, cause it looks good, but many IT organizations are realizing that they are losing all control of the end-point, and with ZeroTrust, the endpoint is just as important in deciding the correct access policy.

 

 

Some interesting points of view

https://www.reddit.com/r/networking/comments/dj49s7/cloud_only_identity_providers_getting_rid_of_all...

jpcaid
Here to help

Hi @KevinI 

Did you find a solation to this?

We are looking to do the same

Thanks

GoVanguard
Conversationalist

Meraki has implemented WPA2-Enterprise auth with GSuite/Google, why not implement the exact same integration for AzureAD? 

 

Configuring WPA2-Enterprise with Google Auth - Cisco Meraki

i've been waiting for integration that leverages intune device compliance checks

danderson
Conversationalist

Meraki has SSO SAML integration with Azure for dashboard access.   Its has splash page sign in with 'out of the box' support for google and facebook.  But somehow, even with a UI that supports potentially endless idp's, MS is not there.  There are no legitimate support docs to build your own splash page.  

 

There is no logical reason to exclude MS as an idp for wifi sign in.  The question has been posted since 2017.   There is no technical reason.   The conspiracist in me thinks meraki hates MS ?,  google is paying meraki to exclude it?  the original developer of the meraki authentication lost the source code?  There has to be hundreds of thousands of potential meraki customers that would benefit from this.   It make no sense.

DanielKritikos
Here to help

Two Years on, I am still waiting for this.

Has there been any progress on this yet?

 

I need my users to be able to connect to the wireless network using their office 365 credentials.

I have Meraki SSO set up for admins to access the dashboard, but I really need to see better user managment options.

and the golden nugget here would be users using AAD creds to authenticate.

 

SAtech
Here to help

Did a Google search and this page is the 1st.

 

I am looking for the same solution. Two companies, one is cloud only, one is hybrid, both prefer to use Azure AD for certificate based corp wifi.

 

Can Azure AD DS work as a RADIUS server?

CptnCrnch
Kind of a big deal

It sounds to me like Meraki is using the same methods for Google Auth that are being used on Cisco ISE for leveraging 802.1x with Azure AD:

 

- Authentication is handled by EAP-TTLS / PAP

- It then is "proxied" to Azure AD using ROPC, Meraki is acting like a "man in the middle" here.

 

In theory, this could be used for Azure AD too.

jrhop
Getting noticed

I have setup certificate authentication using SCEPman (www.scepman.com) and InTune, SCEPman is a Azure Web App that can generate SCEP certificates but only if the device is registered into InTune. You can then either setup EAP-TLS on NPS or another RADIUS server, or use www.radius-as-a-service.com (same company as SCEPman) and point your Meraki SSID to them. With SCEPman there is a free trial, free version and a paid supported version. With radius-as-a-service you can get a trial, but it is something you need to pay for.

 

If you do use your own NPS/Radius you need to use SCEPman user certificates as it does a lookup to local AD and cannot resolve Azure AD device ID.

 

Hope this helps.

This company has about 900 employees, at least 100+ of the management staff will need a corp Wifi. So Intune based option will be a sizable costs (well, technically can buy the much cheaper Intune for device license).

 

 

jrhop
Getting noticed

OK, radius-as-a-service might still be able to work, or JumpCloud as someone else mentioned. I think Meraki System Manager can also generate and deploy certificates. Are they using any type of MDM currently?

Currently using Meraki System Manager on its company owned tablets and computers. No MDM for staff phones (all BYOD)

jrhop
Getting noticed

Have you looked at this company? https://www.securew2.com/blog/azure-ad-802-1x

@jrhopYes, I reached out to SecureW2 and received a quote. The price is quite a lot.

JMI
Conversationalist

The costs and complexities involved for “proper” wifi authentication in a cloud only environment has made us rethink our whole approach. As long as we can restrict lateral movement (and printers etc are on isolated subnets and only accessible via their cloud gateways), our risk assessment may potentially lead to the conclusion that WPA2-PSK on the corporate WLAN is “good enough”. Lord knows that the pandemic has had our users do their business on networks way outside our control the last 18 months anyways.

we had the same problem, complex solution, lack of support, cost etc

 

we went with Portnox cloud radius and certificate service, worked like a charm

Hey "UnCool", 

 

Lets talk, I am looking for an alt solution to Meraki radius to auth users of meraki on to the network.

Id love to hear how you managed it with Portnox.

 

Please drop me a mail

Daniel.Kritikos@obs.school

No any PSK on an ent network is a bad idea. 

Of course it depends on how much a malitious vector can inflict on your network.

but these days cracking a key is a walk in the park. 

 

at least with 802.11x their shot is limited to one user.

if you have a psk with attempt rules, if i fail multiple handshakes with one user, i can just move onto the next.

at this point in the hands of somone like me, your fairly screwed at this point. 

the problem i am faced with is where to balance the level of security over the level of convenience.

 

we had a temporary situation where i needed to psk out to the org, but we also had an mdm.

so i created the most rediculas password somehting like 256 chars long mixing all dictionaries, 

saved it to a wifi mdm profie and pushed it out to all devices. 

 

but in any other circumstances, i would never use a psk in an ent or corp.

the risks are too high.

GIdenJoe
Kind of a big deal

I'm also subscribing to this post.

- Alot of customers are moving to full cloud using nothing but direct internet access to access their o365 applications.
- I believe Microsoft is at fault here for not providing enough with their Azure AD solution and I'm curious to see how this will get solved.

@DanielKritikos @GIdenJoe 

for what is is worth, we did a pilot for portnox, it worked so easily that I was suspicious, all we needed to do was deploy their agent to end points, (our scenario and choice, not a hard limit of solution) and within 2 hrs we were up and running, Everyone now authenticate with azure AD , no more local domains,

what os's we have a heavy ios dependency.

Windows, Android and iOS

sweet. do you have any clips or docs on your installation?

something for me to follow. 

by the way did anyone else experiance the Meraki Radius server DataCenter going down. has happened to us twice now. they still have not issued a report

Can one push a portnox agent onto IOS?

@SoUnCool 

 

The keyword here is "agent", and that is the main concern.

 

If I have to cast trust in one company, I will have to choose Microsoft.

 

portnox, jumpcloud, secure2w, you name it, are all agent based solutions. They are convenient (and not inexpensive) but by installing their agents, the entire IAM is at their mercy.

alright, ill look into it, Cheers Uncool

@SAtech it works without agent as well as a cloud radius service, depending how you want to do implementation you can bypass agent altogether 

 

we looked at https://www.glueckkanja-gab.com/en/products/radius-as-a-service as well, they do not support on-prem or hybrid devices that was deal breaker

HPNetwork
Conversationalist

2022 Meraki has any update on this for us? People are moving away from on-prem stuff. They need to allow Azure AD via API for wifi auth.

Has anyone tried either of these workarounds?

 

1. Use LDAPS from Meraki local auth to Azure AD (needs azure connectivity) - https://apicli.com/2021/12/13/meraki-mr-802-1x-with-azure-active-directory/

 

2. Use an Azure-hosted captive portal that uses OAuth to Azure AD - https://developer.cisco.com/codeexchange/github/repo/rafael-carvalho/meraki-azure-ad/

 

Fady
Meraki Employee

Check out this blog that was written by one of our brilliant engineers (Yuji)
https://apicli.com/2021/12/13/meraki-mr-802-1x-with-azure-active-directory/

danderson
Conversationalist

This is a super well done documentation for the ldap workaround.   great job to the author.   However, if you see that it is about 20 pages long, and the doc for saml configuration for other meraki settings is 1 page.   Google and Facebook auth require no documentation.   

I did notice that they added AnyConnect VPN support with SAML auth and we have started testing.  looks good so far.   Packaging anyconnect client is problematic but that's cisco's issue not meraki....

@shauno- #2 is a solution I tried 3 years ago and was not able to reliably support.   

I still wish and engineer could explain why this is so hard.   Maybe there is something about wifi that makes a 3rd party idp not work, except for google....

rsweet
Conversationalist

I agree with Fady - this is a super complicated setup. Is there a simpler option available yet or is that even planned? I would also like to know why Meraki doesn't support a simpler integration while other providers like Aruba central do?

Fady
Meraki Employee

Hi @rsweet , just wondering what type of integration with Aruba central and Meraki will be beneficial? If you are referring to Aruba ClearPass, then we already have integration with it. 

I agree that native integration with Azure will be ideal and I will have this as a feature request but till we have the native integration the detailed document I shared can be used as a workaround. 

rsweet
Conversationalist

I meant that Aruba central supports a very simple Azure AD integration.

smith_ll
New here

Has anyone managed to get any further with this setup?

AdiMizil
Conversationalist

We need real integration support, not community workarounds.

Meraki is expecting customers to pay a large amount of money but provide only what they think is necessary. 

 

Azure AD Integration for WiFi .1x is a must these days!

 

Meraki .1x WPA2-Enterprise with Google Auth it's possible, dashboard integration  with Azure AD is possible, why is this not extended to .1x WiFi as well ? 

TCwork
Conversationalist

Does Meraki have any plans to support this basic feature that other cloud networking gear supports?

Let me share one recent Meraki tech support conversation with you:

 

Me: We are using System Manager sentry on Windows for Meraki cloud authentication and Windows asks for username & password. All Windows endpoints have System Manager installed properly, showing up on back-end. No issue with iOS devices.

 

Meraki support: Sorry to hear that. It is a known issue that Windows asks for username & password in this use case. Please create users on Meraki dashboard for the time being.

 

Me: No. The entire purpose to pay for System Manager is to get rid of manual user creation for cloud authentication. When the issue can be fixed.

 

Meraki: We are working on fixing the issue.

 

Me: Any ETA?

 

Meraki: No ETA

 

Me: How long this issue has been?

 

Meraki: a little over two years.

 

Me: !!!! ????...

DanielKritikos
Here to help

Guys dont mix up Systems Centry Manger, Cloud Auth, and Wireless Auth, they are all seperated in the Meraki ecosystem.

 

@Meraki 

Your community is feeling pain here, come on, you need to get this done.

Others have achieved SAML based WPA2 Ent Auth, why can you not catch up.

 

A. Consoladate the user pages into one. 

Org / Admins and Network Users should all be on the same page.

B. add logic and enrich the new users page. ie + New User = (selection of user types incl Admins) where the logic can tell the difference, provide wireless and network access as well as "user wireless access", have the 2FA options built in to this area. and like on your Org Admins section, incorporate the SSO section.

C. upon sso setup, have a cron or something that is securly connected to "i.e" an AAD to check for the list of users.

 

So when I get my request to set up a new user, I click that +, I check the sso box, I start to type the name and the text box auto recommends the new user pulled from AAD, and atuo enters their name, and their email.

I click save, and they get an email saying to sign into the "org" network simply enter in your email address and your password. a simple session cookie can do the rest.

and AND; treat the info as 802.11x. win win win.

 

You already have all of these options scattered around your dashboard. you just need to push them all together on one page, and do a little logic coding to make them all talk to each other and behave seamlessly. 

 

I told you guys this like 6 years ago, and have pushed this upon you frequently, your "make a wish" response is bs, 

We pay you guys enough, I am starting to wonder if the cost is worth it, granted the ammount of problems I am having with your Cloud Radius, and lack of response.

 

You are in a perfect position, we the community are literally handing the work to you. 

 

Meraki SSO Setup.jpg

 

NovaNinja
Conversationalist

I don't know if this helps anyone, but we had this issue - wanting to secure our WiFi for Azure AD joined machines, but not having a password etc. We achieved this by *loosely* following this guide : Intune: 802.1x Wi-Fi, NPS and user PKCS certificates | Katy's Tech Blog (katystech.blog) this helped us to set up the Intune Certificate Connector to issue internal CA certs to Intune/AAD devices. We then set our Meraki authentication to "Enterprise with Local Auth", allowing certificate authentication, uploaded our root CA cert... And it worked! 

MerakiHell
Here to help

...

Robert_H
Conversationalist

Why has Meraki not stepped up on this?  Can we get a response with a roadmap or an ETA on this feature?  Completly unacceptable that we are being told to use work arounds to acheive enterprise secuirty on a product that we have fully paid and subscriped to.  I could understand if this was a bunch of guys hacking firmware to get this to work, but this is the offical support from Cisco/Meraki?  Get your priorities figured out and get this working very soon!  

MerakiHell
Here to help

...

DanielKritikos
Here to help

@MerakiHell 

Your input is unproductive and is off point. Please stay on topic.

Your mentioned social media does not provide cloud based sd wan to hardware services.

@NovaNinja Good point but sidetracked, my recommendation searves as a base for all environments, such as those that do not use a device managment platform. 

@Robert_H Agreed, some form of acknologment that this is even on their radar, with a roadmap would be good.

I am quite frustrated with their own cloud based 802.11x radius soultion. on paper its brilliant, no need for an on prem ISE. But we have experianced three times where their Radus services at their datacenter have failed, preventing our entire org from authenticating into the configured ssid. We have had to downgrade to a psk to counter this issue.

I also have alot of struggle managing users, ie who i can remove and who is current.

with these two major issues on my hands, having an user authenticate via SSO off a cloud AD "like azure in our case" would be epic.

@MerakiHell back to your point on MS vs Meraki, also not accurate, I can SSO from AAD to the dashboard for admin control, just not to the wireless network as they are seperated systems. 

I managed hundreds of iPad that use System Manager based sentry and Meraki cloud authentication. One big lesson is you have to have a backup SSID (using PSK). So, when Meraki cloud authentication fails (it will fail), you immediately broadcast the backup SSID.

 

Make the backup SSID part of your MDM profile; make it tag the same VLAN as your primary SSID,

 

😔So true, a lesson I learned the hard way. 

...

AdiMizil
Conversationalist

The latest CVD for WiFi integration is available here - Meraki WiFi in a Box Design Guide (CVD) - Cisco Meraki

 

Solution Use Cases - (1) Secure Corporate Wireless LAN Access with AD authentication - is what we need. Guess what it's also required ? Cisco ISE 3.1 (so you can deploy it in the cloud)

 

When I asked our Cisco Meraki rep 1yr ago when ISE will be available in the cloud and which cloud they said AWS. 

 

Why?! Because most of their customers prefer AWS. But in most of the cases ISE will be  integrated with Azure AD. ETA for ISE in Azure cloud ? N/A 

A 61 pages documentation. It is REALLY a VERY easy to adopt solution.

AdiMizil
Conversationalist

ISE 3.2 open beta is out for testing since mid June.  You can deploy it in Azure , Oracle cloud as well.

Hi Adimizil, thank you for your message.

Would you deply a beta into a live environment? seems risky, especially givin this topic is about authenticating users.

 

If anything goes wrong, you will be dealing with a very large number of unhappy employees.

Then, should you contact support to explain something is not working as expected with the open beta. I doubt you would get support on a Beta.

To be honest I've deployed ISE 3.1 in a VMware test lab for testing purposes nd also in AWS as AMI for the same reason. Configuring an Azure test account , Intune, SCEP etc takes more time than the actual ISE MDM integration. 

 

ISE 3.2 is just a open beta and it was provided just for testing purposes. I haven't had time to test it yet. 

DanielKritikos
Here to help

@SAtech 

Hi SAtech, thanks for pointing this out. In my case this will not work as it is dependent upon having 

  • AWS account 
  • vMX license
  • ISE instance (v3.1)
  • Azure AD

Since Meraki can be SSO connected directly to Azure for Admin portal access. 

I am waiting and hoping that they will adopt this configuration and extend it to users to allow for access into the network with out the use of an ISE.

 

Meraki installations already cost a fair ammount, These PreReqs are an added cost for a functionality that Meraki could implement into their existing environment.

 

R

Dan

 

thomasthomsen
A model citizen

Reading all this. There could also be another solution. Microsoft could just provide a RADIUS service in their Azure AD solution. Problem done.

Because the real issue here is of course, network equipment speaks, good old fashioned, has always worked, RADIUS, and Azure AD speaks SAML . And in case you didn't know SAML != RADIUS. 🙂

So who "gives in" first ? The network provider, that now have to invent a new integration to potentially all cloud solutions, that can be completely different from each other, or , the AD cloud provider who should just provide a well defined service in their solution , that would then work with every network vendor. - So should the pressure not be on the cloud AD provider instead of the network vendor ? - I dunno. This is why we get these fun solutions with a "translator" in between from RADIUS to SAML 🙂

Just my thoughts. - Not here to fight 🙂

 

SAML2 is a growing, modern authentication method requiring little setup and knowledge and next to no maintenance to keep running. And, it's cloud-focused.

 

RADIUS is an old, inflexible method that generally relies on either maintaining your own on-prem system or going to an expensive third-party "cloud" solution.

 

Given Meraki is better suited not towards large enterprises but towards smaller, cloud-focused businesses, it would be in Meraki's best interest and follow their business model to move to support SAML authentication for 802.x. It would not make sense for Microsoft to implement an outdated authentication model in their cloud-focused Azure platform. Meraki/Cisco is also small-beans compared to Microsoft, so if anyone is going to follow suit it'll be Cisco.

 

I mean, technically it's already possible by standing up an on-prem or cloud NPS server with RADIUS, but the goal of this post is to get Meraki to support modern technologies, so I find your comment out of place.

But what EAP method would work with SAML ? I'm guessing only one of the servers side certificate methods like TTLS and PEAP ? Or is this the real problem, that you cannot do EAP "on top" of SAML ? Then it becomes a whole new Hornets nest of development hell. Clients need to support it, the network devices needs to support it, and between the network and the AD SAML provider . So I'm guessing that because RADIUS ( you call it inflexible , I call it very flexible 🙂 ) is the standard for dot1x authentication, it will remain, until someone sets a standard for SAML network authentication from client device and out.....

The way I imagine it would work is RADIUS would still technically be used in order to remain compatible with 802.x, just that Meraki would be the RADIUS server and would primarily serve to translate the SAML authentication response.

 

In the meantime, I'm thinking of trying to use FreeRADIUS and an LDAPS module with AADDS to accomplish this. It should allow me to perform authentication without running a FreeRADIUS vm in Azure Cloud, or setting up Azure VPN. It'd be great if I could find some documentation of connecting FreeRADIUS with SAML... then I wouldn't even need AADDS or LDAPS.

This is exactly what Meraki has. when you Ent in a network’s settings, you can select where the auth happens in a drop down, this list has Meraki Radius as a selection.
When selected, the auth occurs off site in the DC where your installation is hosted. in my case Frankfurt serving Switzerland.

Two problems with this, 1. which i have experienced three times now, when their DC goes down, your entire org cannot get on to the network.
2. managing users. just an all-round nightmare, due to their lack of functionality in the user’s section.

As mentioned, a few times, they already have SAML functionality setup. When I want to access the dashboard, I need to use my Azure Credentials and Azure MFA to log in. works a charm.

What I want is the already present functionality to be extended to the "Meraki Radius" so that we do not have to manage users in Meraki, they simply sign into the network using their "SSO" in my case Microsoft Email address and Password.

I just don’t understand why they do not do this as they seem to already have the system in place.

LakesideLion
Here to help