I love talking with people and listening to what they say and how they say it. The IT world loves acronyms, tech terms and jargon, but what surprises me is that manufacturer’s, resellers, technology partners and end users all define terms a little differently.
For example, the difference between a bypass, "Bypass Switch" and a "Bypass TAP."
So let’s cut to the facts on the bypass switch vs. bypass TAP difference. The terms are interchangeable; however the products manufactured by switch and TAP vendors are not interchangeable. Each manufacturer has different features, regardless of TAP vs. switch that need to be considered when decided how to protect your inline appliance, while making the most use of your budget.
I like like bullets and check lists, so let’s start with this chart and then I’ll explain in more detail at the end of this post.
Here we are comparing Garland's EdgeSafeTM bypass TAPs, which were invented in 2001 by Jerry Dillard, CTO/Co-Founder of Garland Technology and "Bypass switches," which are manufactured, marketed and sold by Ixia, Apcon, and others.
|Copy/sends full duplex traffic|
|Designed for active, inline appliances|
|During fail-safe inline appliance still receives packets in 'breakout' TAP mode|
|Fail-safe for appliance failure|
|Fail-safe for TAP/switch failure|
|Fail-safe for power failure|
|Heartbeat inline device health check|
|Supports bypass OFF mode: In normal operation; traffic flows through attached monitoring device|
Supports bypass ON mode: The monitoring device is bypassed and traffic flows directly between the network ports
Supports aggregation mode: Operates as an aggregator TAP and captures 100% full duplex network traffic
Supports regeneration/SPAN mode: Operates in regeneration/SPAN mode to distribute the link’s traffic to up to three network tools
|Supports breakout TAP mode: Operates as a full-duplex breakout TAP|
|Built and supported in USA|
Don't Bypass the Differences
We find people are not aware that Garland's EdgeSafeTM bypass TAP in fail-safe mode still delivers the packets to the inline appliance. The competitors bypass switches do not do this, leaving the appliance blind to any network threats when in fail-safe mode.
EdgeSafeTM bypass TAPs support the entire lifecycle of your appliance by being able to immediately switch modes for evaluation & optimization, validation and trouble-shooting & updates.
An EdgeSafeTM bypass TAPs can also be repurposed in your network for use as a 'breakout' TAP, aggregation or regeneration/SPAN TAP.
You can call it whatever term you prefer - or we could make up a CamelCase for it and call it ‘switchTAP.’ But that seems just a bit contrived. However, as you're conducting your research, just be sure the features are what you need for 100% network uptime, visibility and access.
[To learn more about purpose built network TAPs, read our free white paper, Internal vs. External Network TAPs.]