5 Reasons to Use a Network Packet Broker

Niagara Networks By: Niagara Networks October 24, 2016

Over the last decade, Network Management has become an immensely important issue for enterprises to handle due to ever increasing speeds and the complexity of network architectures. Moreover, factors such as data center monitoring, virtualization and cloud computing have prompted companies to enhance network monitoring for superior network security. These efforts to enhance network monitoring have resulted in the development of a number of Network Visibility tools, the most remarkable of which is the Network Packet Broker (NPB). Let's take a closer look at the 5 reasons why enterprises should use a Network Packet Broker in their networks.


Prior to being named by Gartner in 2012, Network Packet Brokers (NPBs) were simply referred to as TAPs or Intelligent Network Monitoring Switches. NPBs are devices that receive network traffic as input from multiple SPAN ports, then manipulate the traffic by breaking it down into chunks of related data and transmitting the data chunks to their respective monitoring and security tools. In a considerably small amount of time and due to a number of supporting reasons, Network Packet Brokers have become the go-to device for enterprises to improve their Network Visibility and network security. 

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Here are 5 reasons you should use a Network Packet Broker:

  1. Efficient Traffic Filtering

    As intuitive as it sounds, a Network Packet Broker filters the network traffic it receives and routes it to the relevant monitoring tools. This incredible NPB feature ensures the efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness of each of the monitoring tools and the identification of network blind spots.
  1. Secure Removal of Repetitive Data

    During the deep packet inspection process, a Network Packet Broker checks each packet for redundant or repeating data. It removes all such packets that contain redundant data, which ultimately saves your monitoring tools from being overloaded. Moreover, it is important to note that during this secure removal process, original packets remain intact without having to face the threat of data compromise or data loss and are successfully delivered to the monitoring tools. Niagara offers an Advanced Packet Management Appliance that removes repetitive data.
  1. Network Packet Brokers Optimize Packets

     Apart from deep packet inspection and the ability to remove repetitive data packets, Network Packet Brokers optimize the packets in a number of other ways, including conditional packet slicing and time stamping. Optimizing packets allows monitoring tools to function more effectively and efficiently.
  1. Capacity for Fault Tolerance

    Network Packet Brokers support fault tolerance, i.e., the ability to minimize any unwanted downtime that might be caused by unfavorable events like power failures, malfunction of the NPB itself or the devices to which it is connected. This functionality of Network Packet Brokers enhances the safety and security of a network.
  1. Network Packet Brokers for Load Balancing

    Load Balancing is another reason that makes Network Packet Brokers the prime devices to enhance network security. They effectively divide all the network traffic to their relevant monitoring tools.

In conclusion, Network Packet Brokers are designed to optimize throughput, performance and network port density. Niagara Networks' Fixed-configuration NPB systems are ideal when the network topology is well-defined, when rack space is at a premium and when external passive TAPs, SPAN ports and appliances are aggregated at the Packet Broker. Niagara’s Modular NPB solutions address more specialized needs by offering complete front panel flexibility of TAP, Bypass and network ports.