Network Performance | June 16, 2023
By Keith Bromley : Sr. Manager, Product Marketing
In the grand orchestra of your network, there’s one maestro that elegantly conducts the symphony of data traffic – welcome to the world of Network Packet Brokers (NPBs).
Networks are becoming increasingly complex, and data traffic continues to grow exponentially, ensuring network visibility and security is paramount.
NPBs play a vital role in network management and security by intelligently capturing, filtering, and distributing network traffic to various monitoring and security tools. This article will explore the functions, types, deployment options, benefits, and related content of Network Packet Brokers.
Understanding Network Packet Brokers
Network Packet Brokers (NPBs) are intelligent network devices designed to optimize and manage network traffic flow within an organization’s infrastructure. They act as intermediaries, capturing and directing network packets to various tools and systems for analysis, monitoring, and security purposes. NPBs play a crucial role in facilitating network visibility and enhancing security by efficiently handling the complex task of managing network traffic.
Functions of Network Packet Brokers
NPBs consolidate network traffic from multiple sources, such as routers, switches, and firewalls, into a single stream for simplified analysis and monitoring. They also enable network traffic filtering based on specific criteria, such as protocols, source or destination IP addresses, ports, or application types. This capability allows organizations to focus on relevant traffic for analysis and security purposes.
NPBs intelligently distribute network traffic to multiple monitoring and security tools, ensuring that each tool receives the appropriate data without overwhelming them with unnecessary information. NPBs also optimize the flow of network traffic to match the capabilities and capacities of different monitoring and security tools, ensuring efficient utilization of resources.
Deployment of NPBs
NPBs can be deployed in two primary ways:
Inline: In an inline deployment, the NPB is inserted directly into the network traffic path, actively intercepting and managing the flow of packets in real time. This deployment method allows for immediate traffic control and enables security features like intrusion detection and prevention.
Out of band: In an out-of-band deployment, the NPB is connected to a monitoring network, receiving a copy of the network traffic for analysis and processing. This deployment method is non-disruptive to the network flow and allows for monitoring and analysis without impacting the live traffic.
Benefits of NPBs
NPBs provide comprehensive visibility into network traffic, allowing organizations to gain insights into network performance, identify bottlenecks, and detect anomalies or suspicious activities. They enable organizations to implement robust security measures by directing traffic to security tools for deep packet inspection, threat analysis, and intrusion detection and prevention. Plus, they help with filtering traffic. And with the help of network TAPs, NPBs can capture and analyze network traffic without interfering with the live network, ensuring non-intrusive monitoring.
By selectively redirecting traffic to dedicated security tools, NPBs help identify and prevent potential security threats, enhancing the overall security posture of the network. Finally, NPBs optimize network performance by filtering and aggregating traffic, reducing unnecessary data transmissions, and improving overall network efficiency.
Network Packet Brokers (NPBs) have emerged as indispensable tools in today’s complex network environments. With their ability to capture, filter, aggregate, and distribute network traffic, NPBs provide organizations with enhanced network visibility, improved security, and optimized performance. By efficiently managing the flow of data to monitoring and security tools, NPBs enable organizations to make informed decisions, detect and mitigate threats, and ensure the smooth operation of their networks.
In an era where cyber threats are ever-evolving, NPBs play a crucial role in fortifying network security. They empower organizations to implement proactive measures, such as intrusion detection and prevention, deep packet inspection, and traffic filtering, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of their valuable data.
The importance of Network Packet Brokers cannot be overstated. They are the backbone of network visibility and security, allowing organizations to stay one step ahead of potential threats, gain valuable insights into network operations, and ensure optimal performance. As technology advances and networks become increasingly complex, NPBs will remain indispensable allies for a secure, efficient, and resilient network infrastructure.
Curious About Setting Up an Effective Visibility Architecture?
If you want more information on this topic, check out the following resources: