How to Configure OSPF MD5 Authentication

In a previous lesson, I demonstrated how to configure plain text authentication for OSPF. This time we’ll look at MD5 authentication. The idea is the same, but some of the commands are different. Anyway, here is the topology that we will use:

ospf authentication

Just two routers in the same area, nothing special. Here is the configuration to enable MD5 authentication:

R1(config)#interface fastEthernet 0/0
R1(config-if)#ip ospf message-digest-key 1 md5 MYPASS
R1(config-if)#ip ospf authentication message-digest
R2(config)#interface fastEthernet 0/0
R2(config-if)#ip ospf message-digest-key 1 md5 MYPASS
R2(config-if)#ip ospf authentication message-digest

For MD5 authentication, you need different commands. First, use ip ospf message-digest-key X md5 to specify the key number and password. It doesn’t matter which key number you choose, but it has to be the same on both ends. To enable OSPF authentication, you need to type in ip ospf authentication message-digest.

It is also possible to enable authentication for the entire area. This way, you don’t have to use the ip ospf authentication message-digest command on all of your interfaces to activate it. Here’s the command to enable MD5 authentication for the entire area:

R1(config)#router ospf 1
R1(config-router)#area 0 authentication message-digest

That’s all we have to do. Let’s verify our work…


R1#show ip ospf interface fastEthernet 0/0
FastEthernet0/0 is up, line protocol is up 
  Internet Address, Area 0 
  Process ID 1, Router ID, Network Type BROADCAST, Cost: 1
  Transmit Delay is 1 sec, State BDR, Priority 1 
  Designated Router (ID), Interface address
  Backup Designated router (ID), Interface address
  Flush timer for old DR LSA due in 00:01:53
  Timer intervals configured, Hello 10, Dead 40, Wait 40, Retransmit 5
    oob-resync timeout 40
    Hello due in 00:00:05
  Supports Link-local Signaling (LLS)
  Index 1/1, flood queue length 0
  Next 0x0(0)/0x0(0)
  Last flood scan length is 1, maximum is 1
  Last flood scan time is 0 msec, maximum is 0 msec
  Neighbor Count is 1, Adjacent neighbor count is 1 
    Adjacent with neighbor  (Designated Router)
  Suppress hello for 0 neighbor(s)
  Message digest authentication enabled
    Youngest key id is 1

Using show ip ospf interface we see MD5 authentication is enabled, and we are using key ID 1. We have a neighbor, so it seems to be working. Let’s try a debug:

R1#debug ip ospf packet 
OSPF packet debugging is on

OSPF: rcv. v:2 t:1 l:48 rid:
      aid: chk:0 aut:2 keyid:1 seq:0x3C7EC653 from FastEthernet0/0

Debug shows us that MD5 authentication is enabled (aut:2), and we use key ID 1. Debug is also great for fixing authentication errors. Here’s why:

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Forum Replies

  1. thank you so much… this helped me

  2. Rene… in order to configure MD5 for an entire area… do we have to (at a minimum) configure a single subnet first - interface on Router A and connecting interface on Router B – using the

    ip ospf authentication message-digest
    ip ospf message-digest key 1 dm5 PASSWORD

    Does that have to be done first? If yes – then the - Area 1 authentication message digest – command applies authentication to every other router and its interface in the entire area? … with the same key and password?

  3. Hi Jason,

    If you enable those two commands on the interface then MD5 authentication will be used, but only if the interface is running OSPF. You need to make sure you have a network command that covers the subnet of the interface. Otherwise…the interface won’t run OSPF so we also won’t have any authentication :slight_smile:


  4. Easy to understand, Thanks.

  5. what if i have instances of different OSPF area, and I want the different areas to communicate. is it still the exact same or I need to have a different key number and the same password.

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