Setting Up 802.1x on an Aruba/HPE Switch (Version 16 Code)

Networking 802.1x Aruba HPE Switch

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to set up 802.1x authentication on an Aruba/HPE Switch running version 16 code. 802.1x is a network access control protocol that provides an authentication mechanism to devices wishing to attach to a LAN or WLAN. This configuration will support:

  • Certificate/credential authentication
  • Mac address based authentication
  • Downloadable ACLs


Before we begin, ensure you have the following:

  • Aruba/HPE switch running version 16 code.
  • RADIUS server configured with user credentials.
  • Basic knowledge of switch configuration.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Setup RADIUS Servers

First, configure the RADIUS server settings.

switch# configure terminal
switch(config)# radius-server host <radius_server_ip> auth-port <int> acct-port <int> key <secret>

2. Add RADIUS Servers to a Group

switch(config)# aaa server-group radius <radius_group_name> host <radius_server_ip>

3. Enable Port-Access and MAC-Based Authentication

Configure the switch to use the RADIUS group for 802.1x and MAC-based authentication.

switch(config)# aaa port-access authenticator active
switch(config)# aaa authentication port-access eap-radius server-group <radius_group_name>
switch(config)# aaa authentication mac-based chap-radius server-group <radius_group_name>

5. Interface Configuration

Enable the authenticator and MAC-based authentication on specific ports.

switch(config)# aaa port-access authenticator <port>  # Enable the authenticator on the port
switch(config)# aaa port-access authenticator <port> client-limit 1  # Set a client limit on the port
switch(config)# aaa port-access mac-based <port>  # Enable MAB on the port
switch(config)# aaa port-access mac-based <port> addr-limit 3  # Set an address limit on the port

6. Configure Reauthentication (Optional)

Optionally, configure reauthentication on the port.

switch(config)# aaa port-access authenticator <port> reauth-period 3600
switch(config)# aaa port-access mac-based <port> reauth-period 3600

7. Show Commands

Verify the configuration using the following commands.

switch# show authentication  # Show the configured authentication groups for each service
switch# show port-access authenticator  # Show ports enabled with authenticator
switch# show port-access mac-based  # Show ports enabled with MAC-based authentication
switch# show access-list radius <port> # show any access list enable on a port.