Network TAPs

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Network Test Access Point (TAP)

Network TAPs are the only guaranteed method for 100% data capture.

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.

Network TAPs

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:

  • Copper or fiber network support
  • Network speeds from 10/100/1000M all the way to 100G
  • Media Conversion TAPs (copper to fiber)
  • Passive, listen-only TAPs for monitoring devices
  • Active, inline network TAPs that provide a failsafe for security tools

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

TAP Modes

Breakout Mode
Tap "Breakout" Mode
Aggregation Mode
Aggregation Mode
Bypass
Bypass Mode
Regeneration/SPAN Mode
Regeneration/SPAN Mode
Filter + Aggregation
Filtering

TAP Modes Overview

  • Tap 'Breakout': Ensure that no packet is lost to high-priority monitoring tools.
  • Aggregation: Merge traffic streams into one monitoring port to reduce appliance costs, often used in combination with filtering taps, ie: filter, aggregate data streams. 
  • Bypass: Prevent inline devices from causing network downtime in the event the inline device fails or need to be updated.
  • Regeneration/SPAN: Create multiple copies of network data to support multiple devices from a single connectivity point.
  • Filtering: Allow you to set rules on what data is filtered and sent to monitoring or security tools. Filtering prevents ports from becoming oversubscribed.

Network TAPs 101

The Networking User Guide

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.

Learn More

Network TAPs 101

Network TAP Form Factors

Portable TAP
Modular TAP - 2U Chassis
High Density - Chassis System
Portable TAP
Modular TAP - 1U/2U Chassis
High Density - Chassis System

TAP into Technology | The 101 Series

Leading the way in Network Technology
The 101 Series: Passive Network TAPs

The 101 Series: Passive Network TAPs

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