MetroWAVE: Optical Fibre TAP

What is a TAP?

A TAP (Traffic Analysis Point or Traffic Access Port) is a hardware device that provides access to traffic flowing on a physical connection between two or more points within a network. The TAP usually is located in the link between network devices, so the connection from point A connects to the TAP and then from the TAP to point B. The TAP provides a mirrored output of the data flowing between to network ports.

Three important features of a TAP:

  • The TAP provides a mirrored output of the data passing through the device
  • The data passing through the TAP cannot be modified or degraded by the monitor
  • The TAP doesn't affect the passing data, so monitoring is done without disruption, requires no power and no electrical components.

When installed correctly a TAP can provide access to data flowing across the network, does not allow data to be modified or corrupted and do not represent a point of failure.

Why use a TAP?

A TAP is used for network monitoring and analysis, it provides the necessary access to the data for network monitoring equipment. Often when a device begins to fail, corruption to data is often the start, however network protocols can mask problems by automatically retrying on errors. A TAP allows monitoring to detect network errors and potentially warn about failing devices, a TAP is not only important for monitoring but can provide details not available from other network components - Link Layer access. Many network devices strip away Link Layer information which often contains error information - the information accessed through a TAP presents all layer data, from Physical to Application.

Optical Fibre TAPs

Metrodata offer two Optical Fibre TAPs:

Our Optical Fibre TAPs are unpowered passive devices for highest possible reliability that support full line rate throughput supporting network speeds from 10Mb to 10Gb and provide monitoring per port.