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Visibility Solutions

Garland Technology is committed to educating the benefits of having a strong foundation of network visibility and access. By providing this insight we protect the security of data across your network and beyond.


Garland Technology's resource library offers free use of white papers, eBooks, use cases, infographics, data sheets, video demos and more.


The TAP into Technology blog provides the latest news and insights on network access and visibility, including: network security, network monitoring and appliance connectivity and guest blogs from Industry experts and technology partners


Our extensive technology partnership ecosystem solves critical problems when it comes to network security, monitoring, application analysis, forensics and packet inspection.


Garland Technology is dedicated to high standards in quality and reliability, while delivering the greatest economical solutions for enterprise, service providers, and government agencies worldwide.


Whether you are ready to make a network TAP your foundation of visibility or just have questions, please contact us. Ask us about the Garland Difference!

Heartbeat Packets: Safeguarding Inline Appliances


Discover the cutting-edge world of heartbeat packets, the soft detection technology that keeps inline security appliances in top shape. This blog post plunges into the significance of heartbeat packets, how they enhance proactive monitoring, and their role in fortifying network defenses against cyber threats.

Explore the power of heartbeat packets and revolutionize your inline security deployments for unparalleled resilience and reliability. 


Let's face it, in today's constantly evolving world of cybersecurity - it is crucial to prioritize the dependability and effectiveness of inline security equipment. The seamless functioning of these appliances is critical to protecting networks from cyber threats and maintaining business continuity.

To achieve this, your network administrators leverage innovative solutions like heartbeat packets, a soft detection technology that monitors the health of inline appliances.

In this guide, we will investigate the role of heartbeat packets in proactive monitoring, immediate response to offline situations, and how they contribute to the resilience and reliability of inline security deployments.

Understanding Heartbeat Packets

Heartbeat packets are a type of communication signal transmitted between connected devices to indicate their operational status.

To illustrate, in the context of inline security appliances, heartbeat packets are a soft detection mechanism to monitor these devices' health and availability constantly.

The devices exchange heartbeat packets at regular intervals, and the absence of expected packets alerts the network administrator to a potential issue with the appliance.

Proactive Monitoring and Immediate Response

The continuous exchange of heartbeat packets enables proactive monitoring of inline appliances. When the appliance stops sending heartbeat packets or fails to respond to expected packets, it indicates a potential problem with the device.

This soft detection mechanism allows network administrators to detect issues before they escalate into full blown failures or disruptions to the network.

Bypass TAPs leverage heartbeat technology and are explicitly designed to pass heartbeat packets back and forth between a connected inline appliance. Bypass TAPs allow network administrators to check the health of inline appliances. In fact, Garland Technology’s CTO, Jerry Dillard, invented bypass technology that is now the industry standard.

Bypass TAPs act as the facilitator, seamlessly enabling the flow of heartbeat packets without interfering with the regular flow of network traffic. This critical role of bypass TAPs helps maintain the resilience of inline security deployments and ensures that appliances remain functional and responsive to evolving cyber threats.

Inline Bypass

Applications of Heartbeat Packets

Now that we've deepened our understanding of heartbeat packets, here are some critical ways that they can optimize your network infrastructure:

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are inline security appliances designed to actively monitor and analyze network traffic to detect and prevent cyber threats in real time. Heartbeat packets play a crucial role in ensuring the continuous operation of IPS devices.

By constantly exchanging heartbeat packets with the Bypass TAP, IPS appliances can signal their operational status, enabling administrators to promptly identify any issues and take immediate action to mitigate potential risks.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) systems are essential for safeguarding sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access or leakage. In inline deployments, heartbeat packets contribute to the reliability of DLP appliances by acting as a soft detection mechanism.

The constant communication between the DLP appliance and bypass TAP ensures the network is protected from data breaches and disruptions in data loss prevention services.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are advanced security appliances that provide deep packet inspection, application control, and intrusion prevention capabilities. Heartbeat packets enable constant monitoring of NGFW appliances, ensuring their availability and responsiveness. Using bypass TAPs to facilitate the exchange of heartbeat packets, network administrators can ensure that NGFW appliances effectively protect the network from sophisticated cyber threats.

That is why inline security tools rely on external bypass TAPs. The Bypass TAP (also referred to as a bypass switch) was developed specifically to resolve the issue of these inline tools causing a single point of failure (SPOF) in the network – leading to network downtime and a possible security lapse. In the event an inline device becomes unavailable, it is bypassed and traffic is automatically forwarded around the failed tool.

An external Bypass shouldn't be seen as a negative towards the inline tool, but an enhancement – to allow the tool to focus their processing power on securing the network. Where the external bypass' sole focus is to make sure the tools is working 24/7/365.

Utilizing an external Bypass TAP, and not relying on bypass functionality within your inline tool, offers the unique ability to implement inline lifecycle management. From sandboxing a new tool deployment to easily taking tools out-of-band for updates, installing patches, performing maintenance or troubleshooting to optimize and validate before pushing back inline, a Bypass TAP has quickly become the essential complement to any inline tool.

Heartbeat Packets: Fortifying Inline Appliances for Resilient Cybersecurity 

To protect your organization from cyber threats, network administrators must remain vigilant. Heartbeat packets offer a valuable means of monitoring and proactively safeguarding inline security appliances. Soft detection technology is a powerful tool in the ever-escalating battle against cyber threats.

Using bypass TAPs to facilitate seamless communication, network administrators can ensure uninterrupted operations, maintain data integrity, and fortify their defenses against the relentless tide of cyber adversaries.

Looking to add an external bypass solution to your inline security tool deployment, but not sure where to start? Join us for a brief network Design-IT consultation or demo. No obligation - it’s what we love to do.


  1. Heartbeat Packets: Communication signals transmitted between connected devices to indicate their operational status, allowing soft detection of potential issues.
  2. Proactive Monitoring: Continuously monitor network devices and services to detect potential issues before they escalate into major problems.
  3. Inline Security Appliances: Devices placed directly in the path of network traffic and actively inspect and manage the data flow.
  4. Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): A security solution that actively monitors network traffic to detect and prevent cyber threats, providing real-time protection.
  5. Data Loss Prevention (DLP): This helps organizations prevent the unauthorized transmission of sensitive data, ensuring data security and compliance.
  6. Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW): This is an advanced firewall that offers deep packet inspection, application control, and intrusion prevention capabilities.

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Written by Jason Drewniak

Jason Drewniak is the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Garland Technology in the Buffalo, New York office. His experience building brands and delighting customers covers a variety of tech-forward products like computers, toys, and beer. At Garland he is responsible for educating network stakeholders about the "Garland Difference!"



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