Aggregation TAP

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What are Aggregation TAPs?

Datacom Systems and US Robotics offers a range of network TAPs, aggregators and packet brokers - this page introduces the Link Aggregation TAPs.

A network TAP is a passive device that allows easy access to traffic on the network segment without having to disconnect each time. Datacom Systems' Link Aggregation TAPs provide an excellent solution for 24×7 monitoring of full-duplex Ethernet links.

While conventional standard 10/100 network TAPs provide full-duplex monitoring of all traffic on a network link, they transmit the data to the monitoring device (e.g. analyser, IDS, probe) in two separate half-duplex streams. This requires not only that the monitoring device has two network interface cards, but also that the device is able to combine and process both data streams to monitor both sides of the call. Not all monitoring devices have this capability.

Datacom's SINGLEstream™ Link Aggregation TAP, for example, combines the two data streams flawlessly, allowing any connected monitoring device to receive a full-duplex data stream with one network card.

The new range of copper TAPs from Datacom Systems is the G-Series. These link aggregation TAPs feature multiple taps in one enclosure and a built-in aggregator. This allows administrators to tap and aggregate in a single chassis, these taps can be up to 10G. More information in the SS-G4 & SS-G6 Datacom System product range datasheets.

Why should network architects use a Link Aggregation TAP?

Taps allow access to one's network to get a copy of the data to all kinds of devices, packet analysers or data to network troubleshooting tools. Also, if administrators need to deploy IDS in many places in the network by using multiple APs.

Then why not use a SPAN port?

The advantages of using an aggregation are obvious:

  • Complete packet capture, even if the link is 100% busy
  • Saving of SPAN ports and less degradation of switch performance due to mirroring
  • Full visibility into all intact and faulty frames and even suspicious traffic
  • Ensure network monitoring and logging tools get all the data they need
  • Reduce costs by eliminating the need to buy expensive monitoring tools for every important network segment

Monitoring 10G links with 1G tools is also possible - some aggregation taps can also filter traffic. This feature allows the administrator to tap 10Gbps but send the data to a 1Gbps analysis tool or IDS system. This means that companies don't necessarily need to upgrade their tools, even if their network is getting faster.

Datacom also now offers 12 months standard support for all products. It includes many services such as replacement service, telephone consultation, software updates and much more.

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