Network TAPs

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Understanding Network TAP and Bypass TAP Devices

A network TAP (test access point or terminal access point) is a fundamental element for acquiring network traffic. As part of the Gigamon Visibility and Analytics Fabric™ (VAF), Gigamon network TAP technology provides access to the traffic required to secure, monitor and manage your network infrastructure continuously and efficiently. TAPs are the first step in the process of providing pervasive visibility across your physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures, accessing 100 percent of the network traffic on each tapped link.

In physical networks, a network TAP is typically deployed in a network link connected between the interfaces of two network elements, such as switches or routers, and is treated as part of the network infrastructure, similar to a patch panel. In virtual networks, a network TAP can be deployed in different ways, depending on the environment being deployed in.

Because they are more effective, efficient and reliable, network TAPs are generally preferred over switch port analyzer (SPAN) ports (for more information on why, read our TAP vs SPAN whitepaper).

Gigamon Network TAPs

Passive fiber-optical network TAPs create perfect copies of all traffic seen on the network at full bandwidth. They require no power or management and do not actively interact with other components of the network.

Gigamon passive optical network TAP solutions include:

G-TAP M Series

Active network TAP devices (also called ‘ethernet TAPs’) are used in networks where copper Ethernet or fiber optical technologies do not allow for passive TAPs. Just like passive TAPs, active network TAPs create perfect copies of all traffic at full bandwidth. However, active network TAPs require their own power source to regenerate signals. In the event of a power failure, however, active network TAPs have battery backup to keep them running and will send an alert to indicate the failure. Copper active TAPs also have a relay that closes when the device loses power, thereby maintaining the network connection and minimizing traffic disruption.

Gigamon active network TAP solutions include:

active TAP image

Virtual network TAPs (vTAPs) are used in network function virtualization (NFV) and in private and public cloud infrastructures to gain access to East-West and North-South traffic within the hosting environment. Depending on the virtual machine or container technology in use, different tapping methods (and therefore different vTAPs) are available.      

Gigamon offers four light-weight vTAP solutions for traffic acquisition within the GigaVUE Cloud Suite:

  • G-vTAP Container: Agentless vTAP typically deployed within Kubernetes (with Docker) hosting environments
  • G-vTAP Module: Agent-like vTAP typically deployed within AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and any other cloud hosting environments
  • G-vTAP VM: Agentless vTAP typically deployed within Nutanix, OpenStack and VMware hosting environments
  • GigaVUE V Series: Deployable as an agentless vTAP function within VMware hosting environments

Key benefits include:· 

  • Single, lightweight instance; minimizes impact on host resources
  • Reduces application downtime; removes need to redesign applications when adding new tools
  • Captures and Filters traffic of interest prior to forwarding to a Gigamon VAF visibility node; reduces data-egress and application costs

Test drive G-vTAP on AWS or Azure for free.

Learn more about our public and private cloud solutions.

G-vTAP

Bypass TAPs are used in copper and fiber Ethernet networks for supporting inline security, which redirects all of the network traffic passing between network devices towards inline applications such as intrusion prevention system (IPS), web application firewall (WAF), email gateway (GW) or wide area network (WAN) optimizer. A bypass TAP is typically a hardware device, inserted at a strategic point in the network — usually at a private or trusted network’s perimeter — to manage or secure all or specific data communications.

All bypass TAPs also have a relay that closes when it loses power, thereby maintaining the network connection and performance, while minimizing traffic disruption.

Gigamon bypass TAP solutions are an embedded capability within the GigaVUE HC Series of visibility nodes.

WHITEPAPER

TAP vs SPAN

TAP and SPAN technologies provide direct access to the actual packets — but which is the preferred methodology?

GUIDE

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ANALYST REPORT

2020 Cyberthreat Defense Report

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G-TAP Visio Stencils

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TCO
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“My highest priority was finding a solution that allowed us to watch more than the ocean of data passing at the network border, that allowed us to sharpen our focus on the data we care about most. Now, we feel more comfortable that we’re not missing traffic and are better able to highlight and inspect traffic of interest to reduce false positives and optimize inline security tool performance.”

John Hoyt • Security Information and Operations Director • Clemson University

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