Syed Jahanzaib Personal Blog to Share Knowledge !

November 1, 2017

Mikrotik with Freeradius/mySQL – Dealing with STALE sessions in FR – Part 5

Filed under: freeradius — Tags: , , — Syed Jahanzaib / Pinochio~:) @ 1:26 PM

~ Dealing with STALE session in Freeradius 2.x ~
! From the CORE of FREERADIUS !
Syed jahanzaib

FREERADIUS WITH MIKROTIK – Part #1 – General Tip’s Click here to read more on FR tutorials …


Mikrotik is working as as NAS (pppoe server) along with Freeradius for authorization/accounting. When electric power or hardware failure occurs or in a situation where NAS cannot update the FR about user is being disconnected & not active any more, the FR will consider user ACTIVE in radacct table, therefore on next dialup attempt by the user (once everything is restored), he will get access denied because

  1. There is Simultaneous-Use attribute to prevent multiple login from same user
  2. user accctsoptime is NULL because FR have not receive any update from the NAS about user is not online any more.

To remove such stale sessions, there are various methods, you can make your own bash script & schedule it to run every x minutes (example every 5 minutes). Or you can use IF query in authorize session so that when user tries to reconnect & his sessions have NULL  then in this case the query should put stop entry in acctstoptime and allow user new login. or make a PHP program that can be scheuled to run every 5 minutes and then query the radacct session for users whose account update have not received from the NAS.

STEP – 1

First you need to add lastupdate column in your RADACCT table (in radius db) . Infact all solutions posted in this guide relies on it. so add it

ALTER TABLE 'radacct' ADD 'lastupdate' TIMESTAMP NOT NULL AFTER 'xascendsessionsvrkey';

Now you can use following methods, which ever is ok with you, or you can combine both as well, I tested it a local network & worked well for me …. z@iB

Solution # 1
Using BASH in CRON

You can use following bash script to run every 5 minutes which will check for any stale session by matching last update time with current. If the radius have not received any updates for that account from the NAS for more then 5 minutes , it will consider this session as STALE and will close its session its record.

mysql -uroot -pSQLPASS -s --skip-column-names -e "use radius; UPDATE radacct SET acctstoptime = NOW(), acctterminatecause = 'SCRIPT ACTION' WHERE acctstoptime IS NULL AND lastupdate < DATE_SUB(NOW(), INTERVAL 10 MINUTE)";

This will update the radacct acctstoptime only if user will try to re-connect, ]

Edit /etc/freeradius/sites-enabled/default

nano /etc/freeradius/sites-enabled/default

for compiled RADIUS , use this path

nano /usr/local/etc/raddb/sites-enabled/default

in AUTHORIZE { section add following query

if (User-Name){
if("%{sql:UPDATE radacct set AcctStopTime=ADDDATE(AcctStartTime,INTERVAL AcctSessionTime SECOND), AcctTerminateCause='Clear-Stale Session' WHERE UserName='%{User-Name}' and CallingStationId='%{Calling-Station-Id}' and AcctStopTime is NULL}"){

Save & restart freeradius server. This way if NAS goes out, the session will still show online in radacct table, but when user will relogin next time, his session on radacct table will update and new entry will be created.

Some DRY run theory !

To ALL: read this slowly & carefully …

First, There are some fundamentals you need to understand in order to troubleshoot the STALE session issue or session not appearing in the DMA or your panel.

Example what is interim update & why it is important.

Once user dials-in & get authenticated with the NAS , its sessions is recorded/opened in the Radius database called ‘radacct’ with acctstoptime set to NULL means the session is active (this is how radius tells ACTIVE number of users by checking acctstoptime field)
when you set interim update setting in the NAS , it means NAS will send all active users accounting to the Radius and it will be updates in the radacct table.
Ok, now consider this scenario.
the NAS got rebooted by power failure ,obviously all users got disconnected but the NAS didn’t got the time to inform the RADIUS about this event. Now the NAS is online and receiving the users authentication request, when the NAS ask radius on user account status to decide whether to let user connect or not, Radius will inform NAS that user is already ACTIVE (why? because radius didn’t received any user disconnection request from the NAS earlier so radius still thinks the user is active whereas the user is not). NAS will reject all these users requests and log USER IS ALREADY ACTIVE !!!

Hmmm, so what’s the manual solution? Clear all the session in radacct table whose acctstoptime is NULL but there are caveats in it, playing with such sensitive table is really not understable.

& what about any automated solution to this problem?

in dMA there is a setting called INACTIVITY TIMER, which is set to 10 minute default. What does this means? it means that if the RADIUS does not receives any account update for connected session for 10 mnts, then Radius will consider that these sessions are dead and it should close them in radacct (acctstoptime set to currenttime), this will let user login again.

Now consider this scenario.

All users are logged in, NAS & Radius have same number of online users. Now suddenly dueto to faulty network cable , communication between the NAS and the Radius got disconnected. What will happen now?

All users will remain ONLINE in NAS, but on radius, after 10 mnts radius will clear all online session and declare them dead and consider them offline. Now after 15 minutes the connectivity between NAS and DMA got restored. now the NAS will again send the interim updates to the RADIUS, but since the radius have already closed this session due to INACTIVITY SETTINGS, these interim updates will be DISCARDED, oh Yes !

Now once you understand the logics, & if you have common sense as well, you will understand the possible causes of why there are less number of users bein showed in the ONLINE session of RADIUS.

setting INTERIM update timings to too low will overflood your low specs radius. setting it to too high will create problem of FALSE Session & already logged in issues.

This is why experienced personnels will always invest good in hardware selection like good CPU with multiple cores and CPU cache level, sufficient memory (its really cheap now a days), STORAGE< this is most important section of overall readius performance. INvest in good brand SSD drives , preferably with Radius 10 model as this will give you same level of read+write speed.

Tuning up MYSQL is also equivalent important to digest interim updates at earliest.

Now if some is unable to digest all of these, he is free to vomit out all 🙂

Try setting your interim update to 3 minutes ! rest DMA will settle all as per the 10 mnts intervale ( its user configurable option)



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  5. Salam Alaykum Syed , actually how to radzap -u the user after you cleared his session in mysql db , i can see here sometimes the user cant login because already logged in i radzap -u then the user comes online
    and sometimes radzap responded with “nothing to do” but the user cant login becaue already logged in , any suggestions ?

    thank you very much


    Comment by Walid Alassaad — June 7, 2018 @ 1:19 PM

  6. Worked like charm……… Thanks


    Comment by woronti — March 26, 2019 @ 7:22 PM

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