Trying to connect to network with LEAP authentication

Jouni Malinen jkmaline at
Wed Sep 27 23:08:57 EDT 2006

On Fri, Sep 22, 2006 at 10:34:50AM -0400, Dan Williams wrote:

> I believe cards that actually support LEAP (airo, ipw) [1] do most of
> the association work in firmware.  Unfortunately, that's a black box
> that you can't easily see into.  wpa_supplicant (and any other stuff
> that talks to the card) just sets up a bunch of values and pushes them
> to the card.  The firmware then returns 'success/failure' for the
> association.  You may be able to figure out if you configuration is at
> fault if you enable verbose debugging for the wireless driver.

> [1] I'm quite curious; do any other cards actually support LEAP?  How is
> LEAP done with softmac drivers like bcm43xx?  Is it implemented at all?

Well, LEAP is a bit different beast than other EAP methods since it may
be used to indicate couple of different things.. LEAP is an EAP method
(though, not really a standard compliant one) and in theory, it should
work if any other EAP method works. However, Cisco APs have an option
for requiring a so called "Network EAP" authentication algorithm
(802.11 authentication) which does not really do anything else than
changes the algorithm number in the authentication frames (i.e., there
is no real authentication here). This is one of the most common problems
in getting "LEAP" to work.

Selecting "Network EAP" authentication algorithm can be forced by adding
auth_alg=LEAP into the network block in wpa_supplicant configuration.
This is tried automatically if LEAP is in the list of allowed EAP
methods. However, "Network EAP" is not a standard 802.11 feature and
many drivers do not support it.. I have not tried ipw drivers with it
(nor softmac for that matter; Devicescape stack has support for it).

As far as your question about how LEAP is implemented is concerned,
there are indeed some drivers that implement LEAP (the EAP method) in
firmware. This is somewhat odd design, but well, that's what you get
with proprietary authentication mechanisms.. If the driver is indeed
doing this, username/password will need to be configured with some
driver specific mechanisms and there is not much that wpa_supplicant can
do about it. If the driver does not implement LEAP (or allows internal
implementation to be disabled), wpa_supplicant can be used to take care
of the LEAP authentication (EAP method; not the 802.11 authentication).

Jouni Malinen                                            PGP id EFC895FA

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