A network TAP is a hardware tool that allows you to access your network data. TAPs transmit both the send and receive data streams simultaneously on separate dedicated channels, ensuring all data arrives at the monitoring or security device in real time.
How do Network TAPs work?
Network TAPs are inserted between network devices, where they copy data continuously, 24/7, without compromising network integrity. Different types of TAPs are used with monitoring and security tools.
Network TAPs come in variety of configurations:
Each type of network TAP operates differently based on the requirements it needs to perform. In our Primer on Network TAPs, we review the different functions and benefits to using each TAP mode.
Even Cisco agrees, if you're still using SPAN / Mirror ports you do not have 100% network access or visibility.
"The switch treats SPAN data with a lower priority than to-port data...the best strategy is to make decisions based on the traffic levels of the configuration and when in doubt to use the SPAN port only for relatively low throughput situations." -Cisco
Providing unfettered access to all of the bits, bytes and packets flowing through a network is a critical piece of network design. Without it, security appliances, monitoring devices and analytical solutions cannot function optimally – a critical issue in a world where downtime or a security breach could cost millions. Want to dig deeper on the basics? Start here.