A network TAP (test access point; sometimes also called an "ethernet TAP") is an external monitoring device that mirrors the traffic that is passing between network nodes. A network TAP can be a hardware device or virtual (G-vTAP agentless G-vTAP VM) inserted at a strategic point in the network or public and private cloud to monitor specific data. Because they are more effective, efficient and reliable, network TAPs are generally preferred over switch port analyzers (SPANs).
As part of the Gigamon Visibility and Analytics Fabric™, network TAP technology provides access to the traffic required to secure, monitor and manage your network infrastructure continuously and efficiently. Network TAPs are the first step in the process to provide pervasive visibility across the physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure.
Instead of two switches or routers connecting directly to each other, a network TAP sits between the two endpoint devices connected directly to each of them. Then traffic is seen and copied, providing visibility into the networked traffic. Network TAPs capture data and forward it to the Gigamon Visibility and Analytics Fabric (physical nodes) or V Series (virtual nodes) for aggregation, filtering and application of traffic intelligence before distributing the data to the network and security tools.