A network tap or tap network is actually an monitoring device which is of course external that mirrors traffic that passes between two totally different network nodes. A tap (test access point) is actually a hardware device which is inserted at a specific point in network to monitor and do the amendments in a data. A network tap or tap network normally has 4 different ports. The first 2 ports connect to 2 network nodes at either end of wire that tap is intended to monitors. The extra ports connect to monitoring devices which allows the flows of mirrored packet. Tap network manufacturers build their very own products to be transparent and resilient so as to eliminate or minimize the effect they could have on the production traffic.
Taps networks specially designed to mirror traffic devoid of impeding flow of production traffic. Tap manufacturers also work hard to make device resilient in an event of a failure of a specific hardware. Few taps would draw power from network itself instead of relying on its very own power supply. Numerous taps are engineered to permit traffic to continue passing even if tap network itself stops functioning because of any cause( like electric surge, or hardware error). A passive tap network on the other hand is actually a substitute to integrated port mirroring functions — referred by Cisco as a SPAN port otherwise known as Switched Port Analyzer port – that are raeadily available on numerous routers and switches. Unlike SPAN ports and port mirrors, a tap deson’t depend on processing resources of a router or switch to generate mirrored traffic.
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If you are new to the world of networking, tap networking may sound unfamiliar to you, but for the network administrators, a tap network means a lot. Tap commonly known as traffic analysis point is a piece of hardware intentionally put between two different connections on a network to monitor the performance of the network without causing any damage or interruption of the service.
For the beginners, consider tap network as a phone tap. With the phone tap you are able to have access to all the data that is flowing through the system back and forth and at the same time you are able to analyze the data without interrupting the stream of information. The phone tap allows you to collect the data at any point in time to provide uninterrupted service to your clients without hindering the day-to-day activities.
Following are some of the advantages that you can enjoy using the tap network:
- Helps you filter out physical layer errors normally encountered on the networks
- Helps you avoid any system lags
- Helps you remain undetected and invisible to the outside users
- Helps you process large batches of data containing VoIP information, videos and audios)
- Helps you perform your monitoring task without producing any loss of packets of information
In today’s world the performance as well as the security of the networks is of paramount importance, any negligence in this regard my lead to heavy losses to both the service provider as well as the users. As a network administrator, it is your prime responsibility to make sure that everything is up and running as it needs to and there are no major problems or security threats. If you are able to detect these threats proactively, you will make sure that the system runs smoothly.
To make sure that the network system performs at its peak, the network administrators create a network using various taps (traffic analysis points). A network consisting of various taps is referred to as tap network. This tap network is formed strategically on a network for a number of reasons, following are some of them:
- Full Network Diagnosis – in case you using fiber optic net and you are still facing slower network speeds, you can place an optical tap between network uplink and a switch to fully diagnose the network system of any faults by means of monitoring software. This is a very effective method of monitoring your network system rather than having a look at the logs displayed at your average switch web interface.
- Effective Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Monitoring – use of optical tap network offers a great way to protect your network from attacks by hackers or viruses and malwares. The tap network will help you narrow down the vulnerable areas in the network for better screening and better protection.
- Unobstructive Monitoring – optical tap networks are very handy when it comes to real time monitoring of the data. There is no chance of system slow down or system stoppage. There is no need to provide power supply to the various taps connected in the tap network, especially if you are using the passive optical taps.
- Cost Cutting – another great advantage of using the passive taps in your tap network is that you can cut down your expenses. There is no need to completely shut down the whole system and install a new one, by using the tap network you can quickly diagnose where the problem is and then handle it efficiently to make the system up and running at all times.