Well my recent blogging, or lack there of, may have clued you in on my recent hectic travel schedule. It’s June, and that means the end of government’s fiscal year, so we’ve been busy little bees at the office. (Read my primer on 802.1X here.)

For June, we have an 802.1X hat-trick to blame for my slack blogging habits. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had back-to-back 802.1X implementations, one wired, one wireless and one with both. Two government customers and one commercial, not in that order. And I even did one semi-training-slash-semi-implementation-quick-start for another customer.

It’s been fun, but 1X is always challenging. The variety of components, the nature of the interactions and the ‘newness’ of actual implementations make it difficult to work from any type of cookbook or implementation guide. There are just too many variables.

When will it be easier? I think as 1X is more widely implemented in the real world, customers will become more familiar with the concepts and integrators will have more experience to make it go smoothly. For now, everyone has to just take it one step at a time and address issues as they arise. And, for now, I’ll enjoy the job security that 1X offers ;)

Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of customers and a variety of environments and equipment while hammering out 802.1X. The experience and exposure has certainly given me a unique insight into the issues, complications and solutions that come along with a 1X project.

At present, I think we’ve successfully configured 1X on about a dozen different types of equipment, both switches and wireless APs and controllers, from a variety of vendors. It may not sound like much, but in the world of 1X, that’s quite a variety when you consider each manufacturer has their own ‘system’ for configuring 1X and the commands and procedures can vary greatly even from product-to-product from the same vendor.

Is the 1X streak over? Not at all. We have several customers with NAC and 802.1X projects that we had to queue up for after June 30. I’ll keep you posted!

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Author, speaker, and recognized authority on network and wireless security architectures, Jennifer (JJ) Minella helps organizations solve technical problems and align teams.

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