Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Radiator RADIUS for library Wi-Fi authentication

Radiator AAA server is known for its flexibility when it comes to unique use cases. This flexibility comes from the variety of supported protocols, authentication backends and logging destinations that are available in Radiator AAA server as an off-the-shelf product. This blog post will dig deeper into Radiator integration with library management systems and the 3M’s SIP2 protocol.

Library Guest Wi-Fi Authentication

Previous Radiator blog posts have gone over how network authentication works for enterprises and hotels. Today’s blog post will look at how Radiator can utilise existing library management systems to authenticate library Wi-Fi access for customers (often known as patrons). In its essence, Radiator will utilise patrons’ existing library card credentials for the authentications. Typically these credentials are used to loan and return books. This method has many benefits. First, it gives library patrons easy access to the internet without handing a common public password. Second, the internet access can be modified or disallowed based on patron status or information, for example age restrictions can be applied.

AuthBy SIP2

The key to library Wi-Fi authentication with Radiator lies on 3M™ Standard Interchange Protocol 2.0, known as the SIP2 protocol. The SIP2 protocol provides an interface between a library’s management system and library automation devices. The original use case for this protocol was and generally still is automated self-check devices for loaning and returning library books. However, this protocol can also be utilised for network authentication within the library, which is where Radiator comes in.

Radiator has a specific authentication function for this functionality. In Radiator AAA server Reference Manual Section 3.93., the function and its usage is explained. authenticates patrons based on their username and password, for example library card number and PIN code. The basic version of this configuration is very simple and Radiator’s scripts handle the communication with the library system. Essentially, In the library system’s view, Radiator is a self-service loaning device among the others.

This integration also enables further functionality. Radiator can be configured to do that if the patron has outstanding fines or fees that exceed an agreed threshold, their Wi-Fi access will be declined upon login. This is done by Radiator’s scripts and is a toggleable option within the Radiator configuration file. The access can be tied to patron status or other patron information, for example age restriction can be applied.

Want to know more?

Would you be interested in getting your library a stable, proven and affordable Wi-Fi authentication solution? Please contact us sales@radiatorsoftware.com for more information on both commercial and technical matters.

Testing the solution is also an option. We offer a 30-day evaluation licences for testing purposes and Radiator evaluation comes with thorough documentation and resources like well documented example configurations and our reference manual. To get started with a Radiator evaluation, please fill the form at our evaluation page.