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How to configure public key authentication using the CLI

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TitleHow to configure public key authentication using the CLI
How to configure public key authentication using the CLI in EXOS for the admin user. This will allow users to login without a password using a public-private SSH key.
  • EXOS
  • Summit
  • BlackDiamond
  1.  Download and install the appropriate SSH module for the version of EXOS.
  2.  Generate RSA keys.  In this example we used a linux server using the following commands.  PuTTYgen can also be used:
ssh-keygen -f sub_rsa_2048 -t rsa -b 2048
  1.  Now copy-paste the (public file) contents using the following command and associate it with admin user.
Switch# create sshd2 user-key sub_rsa_2048 AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAEXOSisCOOL80aYj --truncated for brevity --
Switch# configure sshd2 user-key sub_rsa_2048 add user admin
  1.  Try logging in using the user with the key from the SSH client.  You can use any ssh client that allows you to do public key authentication.
# ssh -i /root/.ssh/sub_rsa_2048 admin@

Additional notes
For more information refer to the User Key Based Authentication section of the EXOS User Guide.  Also see the discussion about this topic on the HUB  here.

A utility such as PuTTYgen can be used to generate the public and private keys. If using PuTTY to connect to the CLI, select the private key (.ppk) file by navigating to Connection -> SSH -> Auth and then click Browse. Then login using SSH and the IP address.

Logs from the switch login:
10:08:07.94  Msg from Master : Did key authentication for user admin (
10:08:07.94  Msg from Master : Login passed for user admin through ssh (
10:08:07.94  Msg from Master : Found valid key for user admin
Putty switch login:
login as: admin
Authenticating with public key "rsa-key-20150930"
Copyright (C) 1996-2015 Extreme Networks. All rights reserved.
This product is protected by one or more US patents listed at along with their foreign counterparts.

Press the  or '?' key at any time for completions.
Remember to save your configuration changes.


This article has been adjusted from 1024 to 2048, which is required in later versions.



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