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Niagara Networks Inline Bypass Switches

Inline Always-On Security  Uninterrupted Network Uptime

A Network Bypass Switch ensures failover or fail-safe capabilities for an inline networking device or a network security tool such as a firewall, NGFW, IDS/IPS, WAF, DDOS and many other flavours of threat detection platforms. If the network or security appliance fails or needs to be taken off-line for whatever reason, its traffic is automatically rerouted, ensuring uninterrupted traffic flow on the network.


What is a Network Bypass Switch?

Redundancy is essential and highly critical aspect for any network that needs to operate all the time. Bypass Switches sometimes also referred to as a bypass tap, the network bypass switch, is a special type of active tap. It is used to connect a network segment at a specific network access point (TAP) where there is an active, inline device (such as a security tool that is there for inspection and monitoring purposes).

Functionally, it can reroute traffic automatically by monitoring the tool’s health or can manually be made to redirect traffic (such as when disconnecting the monitoring tool for maintenance or other motives). Since the inline network devices are essential to the overall functioning of the enterprise network – any issue with them can critically effect network performance.

Each network device that is placed inline is a potential single point of failure in the computer network. If the device should experience even the shortest period of system hang-up or failure (that takes time for a reboot or any kind of troubleshooting), then traffic flow will be discontinued. Even for maintenance or replacement purposes, disconnecting the device will interrupt normal traffic flow at that point.

Any dropped data packet is a potential cause of error or inaccuracy in the processes and applications that depend on receiving those data packets. Thus, the network bypass switch – that can circumvent any and all interruptions at that critical AP or network link – is an essential element of the network infrastructure. The network bypass switch eliminates this point of failure by redirecting the network data traffic to bypass around the network device at that point, whenever that device is incapable of processing or passing the traffic.

In case the bypass switch itself is somehow compromised, it contains a relay switch that is designed to close and go to 'bypass mode' and allow the traffic to seamlessly flow through its cable to maintain an uninterrupted and open link with the rest of the network. This is especially important with regards to security devices that need to continuously defend the network against malevolent attacks and security breaches.

Niagara Networks Packet Broker

The most important thing you could add to your network...

The Broad Family of Network Packet Brokers that Sets the Standard for (NetOps and SecOps) Agility

With a wide array of Network Packet Brokers tailored to various use cases and application scenarios, Niagara Networks empowers NetSecOps by offering five major advantages:

1. Resolves complex network architecture and establishes a seamless flow of network traffic to enhance the performance of monitoring and security tools.

2. Ultra-high granular view of packet flows from any TAP use case including Niagara's CloudRay virtual TAP and Cloud Intelligence Platform solution.

3. Simplify Application and Network Performance (APM / NPM) analytics and reporting. 

4. Enhance your security analytics with streamlined efficiency, advanced threat inspection, and prevention capabilities.

5. Boost tool performance and scalability - maximize traffic capacity while minimizing redundant and irrelevant headers and payload.

Niagara Networks Packet Broker

Best Practices for Choosing a Network Packet Broker


Network packet brokers differ from manufacturer to manufacturer – and even within the manufacturer’s offerings, there may be significant variations (i.e. they will have distinctive features or levels of functionality). Therefore, differentiating and understanding the essential features versus the ‘nice-to-have’ ones – with respect to your current and future needs – is of paramount importance, especially when weighing initial costs versus ROI.

In addition to their standard general capabilities (such as previously mentioned traffic management, network robustness, deduplication, filtering, and aggregation) manufacturers are evolving their NPB offerings with new facets and features. As an example, some manufacturers now offer a new breed of modular NPBs that support both active and passive TAP devices (that can be easily attached to the NPBs). In this way, network designers can place a modular NPB inline, within the network, and then add as many TAP devices as needed (with their respective monitoring tools), thus significantly simplifying wiring, and other network design issues.

In addition, some NPB vendors have been known to customize the packet broker functionality, to tailor features to adapt to specific IT requirements or to specific industries and their needs.

Here is a handy mini-checklist of required and recommended ‘nice-to-have’ features to look for, when selecting a network packet broker:

  • High availability (HA) / business continuity (BC) robustness
  • Ability to handle deep packet inspection (DPI)
  • Selective or full data traffic aggregation and regeneration as well as load balancing
  • Filtering and data packet deduplication features
  • Centralized administration including a manageable interface (Web, GUI, or CLI)
  • Optimized buffering and other high-performance features
  • Support for inline monitoring devices
  • Support for passive inspection and analysis tools
  • Complete 360-degree packet data visibility across on-prem, cloud and hybrid cloud

Another aspect worth considering, is understanding how the NPB reacts to specific brokering issues, such as in a failover scenario (how it will handle traffic flow if it, or some connected network element, should fail). Of course, technical specifications such as latency and flow thresholds should also be taken into account when deciding on a selection.




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