7 Reasons Why You Should TAP
March 13, 2018

Chris Bihary
Garland Technology

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Many network operations teams question if they need to TAP their networks; perhaps they aren't familiar with test access points (TAPs), or they think there isn't an application that makes sense for them. Over the past decade, industry best-practice revealed that all network infrastructure should utilize a network TAP as the foundation for complete visibility.

The following are the seven most popular applications for TAPs:

1. Options to Prevent Network Downtime

With a Bypass TAP, you avoid network downtime, as the TAP's only functionality is to provide copies of traffic to the active, inline device. Because of the heartbeat packets included in Bypass TAPs, should you have any issues with the tools, you can easily take that active, inline device offline for testing, updates, and changes while the live network data still flows.

A switch, on the other hand, has to focus on its production network while combating anomalies like DDoS attacks, so if there is an issue with an inline device like a NGFW (next-generation firewall), you would have to take the network down.

2. Update Older Tools

Do you have older monitoring tools that are running at 10G and you are considering 40G or 100G? Rather than purchase updated tools, which can be expensive or unavailable, you can utilize a network TAP with a purpose-built packet broker at the access layer for any-to-any configuration of network speeds. 

3. Take Devices Offline Without Network Interruption

A Bypass TAP can provide copies of traffic to the active, inline device, which can then do their job to combat DDoS attacks, and because of the heartbeat packets included in Bypass TAPs, if you have issues with your tools, you can take that active, inline device offline for testing, updates, and changes without taking down your entire network. 

4. Media/Speed Conversion

Do you have a single-mode, long range cable running between buildings, but the analyzer tool you want to connect to is in the same rack in your network room? Rather than buy an expensive transceiver, a network TAP can handle the media conversion for you.

5. Lawful Intercept

Do you need to prove evidentiary chain of custody for a court case? Unlike SPAN ports, a TAP can be used to prove that no packets were dropped during the lawful intercept process, but make certain the network TAPs are CALEA approved to ensure all data arrives at the monitoring or analyzer tool, and that it wasn't hacked.  

6. Connect Multiple Monitoring Tools

Do you have multiple monitoring devices to analyze your network? With an aggregator TAP, 100% full duplex traffic is captured in both directions and sent out of two monitoring ports, enabling the ability to send your traffic from that point in your network to Wireshare and an APM.

7. Visibility In to Your Network

Using a network test access point provides complete visibility into your network, allowing you to see every packet of data flowing in and out of your network. With a visibility point in your network, you can analyze e-commerce and web server traffic, VoIP and real-time communication applications.

Chris Bihary is CEO and Co-Founder of Garland Technology
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