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Is There A Difference? Bypass Switch vs. Bypass TAP

Posted by Chris Bihary | 9/7/16 8:00 AM

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.



Bypass TAP
Copy/sends full duplex traffic
Designed for active, inline appliances
During fail-safe inline appliance still receives packets in 'breakout' TAP mode Frown 
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  Frown


Whitepaper Internal vs External Network TAPs

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.

Inline Lifecycle Management DiagramNot Just Word Play

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.]


Topics: Network TAPs, Network Security, Inline Security Appliances

Written by Chris Bihary

Chris Bihary has been in the network performance industry for over 20 years. Bihary has established collaborative partnerships with technology companies to complement product performance through the integration of network test access points. Previously, Bihary was Managing Partner at Network Critical.

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