Traffic Aggregator vs NPB: Which One is Better?

Posted on Nov 20, 2023 by

In the ever-changing landscape of networking, choosing between traffic aggregator and network packet broker (NPB) is pivotal for organizations aiming to optimize data management. With the onset of 5G, IoT, and cloud computing, this decision holds profound significance for the future of network infrastructure. This exploration unveils the unique traits of Network Aggregators and Advanced Features Network Packet Brokers, providing insights into their capabilities. As network optimization and cybersecurity take center stage, we embark on a journey to determine which solution is better poised to meet the challenges of the digital age.

What is NPB?

In essence, the NPB is a technological solution that deploys various monitoring tools to gain access to and analyze network traffic, commonly referred to as "network packets." In simpler terms, network packet brokers serve as facilitators or managers of network traffic. These brokers adeptly gather traffic from diverse network links, meticulously filter and distribute each packet to its designated network monitoring tool. Through this process, network packet brokers play a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency of network monitoring and security tools, ensuring the delivery of refined data sourced from throughout the network.

What is Traffic Aggregator?

A network traffic aggregator, an introductory-level network packet broker, enhances traffic flow between TAP and SPAN connections and various monitoring tools. With many-to-many (M:M) port mapping, these aggregators efficiently direct network traffic, applying filters to optimize bandwidth and reduce tool loads for enhanced performance.

Crucial in optimizing data flow, Network Aggregators forward data from multiple inputs to one or more tools, enabling further analysis. Through pre-aggregation of network traffic, Advanced network packet brokers benefit from increased port efficiency, reducing the number of consumed ports on devices.

Features and Advantages: Traffic Aggregator vs NPB

Traffic Aggregator

Explore traffic aggregator, an innovative solution meticulously designed to enhance network efficiency through strategic traffic management. This comprehensive examination reveals the benefits of intelligent data aggregation and seamless operations that optimize tool performance. Network Aggregator not only reduces costs but also serves as a cornerstone in efficient problem resolution. The user-friendly interface adds to its appeal, offering a customized design for seamless administration in a meticulously orchestrated network infrastructure. Join us on a journey to uncover the unparalleled features and advantages that position Network Aggregator at the forefront of network optimization.

Network Packet Broker

A comprehensive network packet broker ensures precise analysis and timely insights through intelligent traffic filtering. From manual configurations to automated discovery, it optimizes traffic routing for accuracy. Advanced network packet brokers streamline operations, reducing manual efforts, ensuring scalability, and preventing errors, contributing to optimized tool performance and enhanced incident response. This approach aligns with cost reduction objectives.

Prioritizing load balancing, a proficient NPB efficiently manages high-bandwidth traffic, enhancing device survivability and contributing to power, flexibility, and problem resolution. Meanwhile, a user-friendly graphical interface supports tailored design, fostering smooth administration during traffic spikes or emergencies.

The Difference: Traffic Aggregator vs NPB

There are two primary categories of network packet brokers: traffic aggregators or advanced aggregators, which handle essential tasks such as aggregating, filtering, regenerating, and load balancing traffic from network TAPs and SPAN ports. In many cases, these functionalities suffice.

A more recent development is the emergence of NPB, succeeding the original devices introduced around 2012. The key distinction lies in the incorporation of new features:

  • Packet Slicing: NPB can slice packets, reducing them to their essential components to facilitate easier storage in memory and prevent dropped packets. This is crucial for effective monitoring, ensuring no loss of vital information.

  • Deduplication: Advanced network packet brokers can natively deduplicate packets, eliminating redundant network traffic for faster throughput and efficient resource utilization.

  • Time Stamping: NPB offers the capability to timestamp each individual packet's entry into the network. This feature aids in pinpointing potential problems by correlating packet arrival times with network issues.

  • Tunneling: Using protocols like Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) or VXLAN, advanced network packet brokers can tunnel packets not native to your network. This enables the direct transportation of suspect packets from the switch to an endpoint for in-depth analysis.

Traffic Aggregator vs NPB:How to choose?

The decision of whether your network adopts the advanced capabilities of traffic aggregator or NPB depends on your specific needs and anticipated growth. However, what remains unequivocal is that any data center requiring scalability to meet rising traffic demands must incorporate some form of network packet broker to ensure secure and efficient operations.

If you are considering adding a packet broker to your deployment but are unsure where to begin, we invite you to engage with us for a network visibility solution or to contact us directly. There is no obligation involved - it aligns with our passion for assisting you.

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