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Network TAP

What is a network TAP?

A network TAP (short for Test Access Point) is a device placed on a network segment that allows you to access and monitor network traffic. Network Taps allow traffic to flow without interruption or interference. As long as they are connected, a network tap creates an exact copy of two-way traffic on the network. All monitoring and analysis tools connected to the tap receive exact copies of the network traffic.

Image 1 Network TAP

How does a network TAP work?

A network TAP is inserted between two network segments. For example, a network TAP can connect two devices (such as a switch and router) by inserting it "in-line" between the switch and router. This deployment is often referred to as "out of band". Data continues to flow uninterrupted between the two network devices in both directions, as it normally would. A network tap copies the transmit signals from each device and sends them to separate monitoring ports. This way, every packet is copied, and monitoring and analysis tools can see 100% full-duplex traffic without the risk of being overloaded. Network traffic is not affected, and there is no additional load on the network.

Image 2 Network TAP

Why use a network TAP?

Network Taps are a cost-effective and highly reliable way to deliver data non-intrusively to Network Tools. They provide a secure 24/7 access point for monitoring and analysis. And unlike many in-line monitoring devices, taps are fail-safe and do not represent a single point of failure.

Because network taps connect between network segments, they allow you to instantly connect troubleshooting and analysis tools to that segment without network disruption or the use of service windows.

They allow you to retain the use of ports on network switches that are frequently used for analysis purposes. In addition, Taps provide 100% visibility into all seven layers of network traffic. They can be used to make physical layer traffic available to other aggregation devices to supplement SPAN or port mirror collection for enhanced analysis.

  • 24 x 7 monitoring capabilities (intrusion detection, VoIP recording, etc.)

  • "Plug-in" to perform troubleshooting to support an SLA agreement, avoiding SPAN or port mirror configuration of a switch or router that may be tied to a configuration change policy at the customer site.

  • Meet compliance requirements where all data must be captured and analyzed - a combination of tapping and SPAN/port mirrors.

  • Reduce operational costs and mitigate risk of failure.

 

View an overview of Datacom network TAPs.