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:
- MetroWAVE: TAP-MM - a multimode in-line Optical TAP
- MetroWAVE: TAP-SM - a singlemode in-line Optical TAP
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.