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Monitor Your Network with PacketFence
By: Joe Eitel
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  • Monitor Your Network with PacketFence
  • Supported Features

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    Monitor Your Network with PacketFence

    (Page 1 of 2 )

    If your computer has been giving you trouble, chances are the last thing you want to do is download yet another thing that will possibly slow it down—unless that “thing” is PacketFence.

    So, what is PacketFence? According to its creators, it’s a fully supported and trusted free and open source network access control, otherwise known as an NAC system. Some of its features include “a captive-portal for registration and remediation, centralized wired and wireless management, 802.1X support, layer-2 isolation of problematic devices, and integration with the Snort IDS and the Nessus vulnerability scanner.”

    In case you don’t speak geek, PacketFence breaks it down for users like this: if your network is a breeding ground for worms, PacketFence is for you. If you have no idea who connects to your network and who owns a particular computer, PacketFence is for you. If you have no way of mapping a network policy violation to a user, PacketFence is for you.

    Essentially, the system is intended to be used to secure networks of all sizes, from very small to very large. And if this isn’t enough to convince you to download the system, consider this: it’s used by banks, colleges and universities, engineering companies, manufacturing businesses, and school boards across the country.


    For the average home user, the previously-listed features may not have seemed very impressive. After all, not all of us are familiar with what 802.1X support means (though we’ll get to that in a moment). To put things in simpler terms, here are some simple, straight forward, and much needed tasks with which PacketFence can help home users:

    • Block an iPod’s wireless access

    • Forbid rogue access points

    • Perform routine compliance checks

    • Eliminate Peer-to-Peer traffic

    • Provide guest access

    • Simplify VLAN management

    The more cryptic-sounding PacketFence features are just as integral, important, and useful to the system as the more simplified features just listed. Thankfully, the PacketFence website provides a rundown of what some of these features actually mean -- and even more important, what they actually do. Read on to learn about these features.

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