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Network Taps

Network Taps

An APM/NPM (Application Performance Monitoring/Network Performance Monitoring) or a network security monitoring tool using a combination of network taps and aggregation devices can help improve visibility and redundancy, as well as reducing system complexity and the cost of implementation.

A Network Tap makes a perfect copy of information in your network connection. The Tap is designed so that traffic flows through your network and does not become a point of failure.  Tapping your network will also help to minimise latency between the network link and the monitor part of the Tap.

Taps acquire data from a network link, which is then forwarded to the Visibility and Analytics Layer (either physical or virtual nodes) for aggregation, filtering and the application of traffic intelligence, before distributing the data to network and security tools.

Why Tap?

  • To unobtrusively monitor network traffic without affecting that traffic.
  • SPAN, or Mirror ports can be over-subscribed (i.e. too much traffic presented), and packets dropped.
  • Zero packet loss: In the event of a power outage causing failure of the Tap, the end devices remain permanently connected without any link downtime and without dropping or affecting a single packet.
  • Passive: The Tap has no discernible effect on the network; a passive TAP does not alter the traffic that passes through it.
  • Allows for multiple security and network visibility tools to inspect the same network traffic.

Our Network Tap solutions:

Passive Fibre Optical Taps – create perfect copies of all traffic at full bandwidth. They require no power or management and do not actively interact with other components of the network.

Active Network Taps – can be used in networks where copper cabling or optical budgets do not allow for passive Taps. In the event of a power failure, active Taps have a battery backup to keep them running and will send an alert to indicate a failure. A type of active Tap called a Bypass Tap also has a relay that closes when it loses power, maintaining the network connection and minimising traffic disruption.

Virtual Taps – are used for traffic acquisition. In this scenario Virtual Taps are deployed within AWS, Microsoft Azure or OpenStack instances that mirror traffic.

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Gigamon - To TAP or SPAN Whitepaper

This paper dives into the details of the two technologies to clearly categorize where each should best be utilized within today’s modern infrastructures.

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