Prospects in the Evolution of Network Packet Brokers

Posted on Nov 21, 2023 by

Network Packet Brokers (NPBs) play a pivotal role in adeptly navigating the intricate landscape of modern digital networks. As technology undergoes rapid evolution, there is an escalating demand for highly effective network visibility solutions.

The Background of Network Packet Brokers

Network Packet Brokers, offering intelligent traffic management and filtering, optimize data flow in the era of cloud computing, IoT, and 5G. Their adaptability and scalability make NPBs solutions vital for enterprises and service providers. The promising future of NPBs is closely tied to the increasing emphasis on resilient network infrastructure, cybersecurity, and the seamless functioning of digital ecosystems, positioning them for significant growth.

Higher Complexity of Networks

In recent times, various changes have emerged, posing challenges in capturing packet-level data. However, these challenges are easily surmountable. Examining how organizations traditionally direct traffic to their Network Monitoring and Security toolset within their data center reveals the deployment of Network SPANs on Switches and Routers at critical network transit points. Additionally, Network TAPs are strategically placed on key links, enabling users to acquire essential copies of Network Packets—the lifeblood of the network.

The outputs from SPAN ports and TAPs are seamlessly connected to tools, often through an Network Packet Broker. This Broker optimizes packet flow between the network and tools by implementing Filtering, Aggregation, Load Balancing, Data Replication, and Packet DeDuplication Algorithms policies before handing off packets to the tools. This optimization significantly enhances tool efficiency and scalability.

As networks evolve and challenges surface, ensuring consistent visibility and eliminating blind spots becomes imperative. This is especially critical as networks embrace the next generation of technology.

The Development of Network Packet Brokers

For numerous years, Virtual TAPs have provided the capability to extract east-west traffic within virtual hosts. Some advanced Virtual TAPs even go beyond, enabling the capture of intra-container traffic within a single VM, particularly beneficial for micro-compute services like Docker or Kubernetes. The traffic collected from these Virtual TAPs smoothly flows towards either an NPB or a Monitoring toolset.

The Next-Generation Network Packet Brokers (NGNPBs) iteration has been meticulously crafted with high-density inputs, ensuring the seamless deployment and connection of outputs from Network TAPs and SPAN at strategic network positions. This is increasingly vital as network flows escalate due to the dynamic nature of traffic, including the emergence of SDN Fabrics. Noteworthy, these advanced NGNPBs often integrate TLS/SSL Decryption, supporting TLS 1.3, facilitating the elimination of encryption blind spots on the network, regardless of possessing the private certificate used for encryption.

The Application of Network Packet Brokers

Historically, tools would directly connect to the production network via TAPs or mirror/SPAN ports. Yet, as data volume and the mobility of users, devices, and applications have surged, tools face challenges in delivering precise and prompt analysis. NPBs play a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency of your monitoring and security tools throughout the entire network. By delivering tailored packet data to each tool, they contribute to heightened network efficiency and reduced costs.

The FS Network Packet Brokers equipped with cutting-edge features like network edge functionality and inline security, are meticulously designed for the aggregation, filtering, and routing of multiple 1/10/40/100G inputs. Specifically crafted for scenarios requiring high sustained bandwidth port monitoring and analysis, this design highlights its hybrid NPB/TAP capabilities. The integration of advanced features not only bolsters its versatility but positions it as a robust solution for optimizing data flow, ensuring network visibility, and fortifying cybersecurity measures in dynamic network environments.

They deliver the capability and adaptability of network traffic management, elevate the effectiveness of network analysis and security tools, aiding in resolving application performance bottlenecks, and facilitating troubleshooting of network issues.


In conclusion, the evolution of Network Packet Brokers stands at the forefront of addressing the challenges posed by increasing network complexity in modern digital landscapes. Serving as essential components within the broader network visibility solution, NPBs play a pivotal role in optimizing data flow, monitoring, and securing the network. Their contribution to the development of resilient network infrastructure and the enhancement of cybersecurity measures highlights their paramount importance. The promising prospects for NPBs underscore their significance in navigating the dynamic evolution of network architectures, rendering them integral for enterprises and service providers seeking efficient and secure digital ecosystems.

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