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Difference between Kerberos and RADIUS

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1. Kerberos : Kerberos is a protocol that assists in network authentication. This is used for validating clients/servers in a network using a cryptographic key. It is designed for implementing strong authentication while communicating to applications. The implementation of the Kerberos protocol is openly available by MIT and is used in many mass-produced products. 

Features of Kerberos :

  • It inhibits various intrusion attacks.
  • It implements authentication across the Internet for Web apps.
  • Provides unique trust at the root and reduces full mesh scenarios.
  • Grants interoperability with other passage domains.

2. RADIUS : RADIUS stands for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service. It is a network protocol that provides ample centralized Authentication, Accounting, and Authorization for the users that use and network services. The working of protocol begins when the user requests access to network resources, where the RADIUS server encrypts the credentials which are entered by the user. After this, the credentials are mapped through the local database, after this, if all checks are true user is granted access. 

Features of RADIUS :

  • Its server can acts as a proxy client to other Radius Servers.
  • Communication between client and server authenticated by a shared key
  • It supports PPP, PAP, and CHAP protocols for authentication purposes.
  • It runs using UDP and is a stateless protocol.

Difference between Kerberos and RADIUS :

1.It is called as Kerberos.It is short used for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service.
2.It is used for managing users credentials securely.It is used for centralized Authentication, Accounting, and Authorization for the user’s information.
3.Kerberos is a open source software which provides ample of free services.It is not open-source but it possesses implementation such as Free RADIUS which is open-source.
4.It provides two-factor authentication.It does not provide two-way authentication but can set two levels of privileges.
5.Kerberos bundles high security and mutual authentication.RADIUS provides authentication by RADIUS client also called NAS.
6.It provides authentication in multi-tier applications.It provides authentication in multi-tier applications.
7.Kerberos supports Single Sign-On (SSO) across multiple systems and applicationsRADIUS does not support SSO across multiple systems and applications
8.Kerberos does not provide accounting services RADIUS includes accounting functionality, allowing network administrators to track network usage by users

Kerberos is an authentication protocol that uses tickets to authenticate users to network resources. It provides high security by using both symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Kerberos supports single sign-on, which allows users to access multiple resources without the need to re-enter their credentials. Kerberos is designed for network authentication, which means it is used to verify the identity of users accessing network resources.

RADIUS is an access control protocol that is used to manage network access. It uses an authentication server to verify the identity of users and authorize access to network resources. RADIUS uses symmetric encryption to protect user credentials during transmission. RADIUS is used for network access control, which means it is used to control who can access network resources.

In terms of scalability, RADIUS is highly scalable and can be used to manage large networks. Kerberos, on the other hand, is limited in scalability and may not be suitable for large networks.

Kerberos uses a proprietary protocol, while RADIUS uses a standardized protocol. This means that RADIUS is more widely adopted and easier to integrate with other systems.


 Kerberos and RADIUS are used for different purposes. Kerberos is used for network authentication, while RADIUS is used for network access control. Kerberos is more secure, supports single sign-on, and is cross-platform, but is limited in scalability. RADIUS is highly scalable, easier to integrate, and supports access control and accounting, but is less secure than Kerberos. The choice between Kerberos and RADIUS depends on the specific needs of the organization and the resources being used.

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Last Updated : 16 May, 2023
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