Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) is a client/server protocol and software that enables remote access servers to communicate with a central server to authenticate dial-in users and authorize their access to the requested system or service. RADIUS allows a company to maintain user profiles in a central database that all remote servers can share. It provides better security, allowing a company to set up a policy that can be applied at a single administered network point. Having a central service also means that it's easier to track usage for billing and for keeping network statistics. Created by Livingston (now owned by Lucent), RADIUS is a de facto industry standard used by a number of network product companies and is a proposed IETF standard.
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