Vendor: Niagara Networks
A network tap is an external network device that creates a “copy” of the traffic for use by various monitoring devices. It allows port mirroring and is an intrical part of an organization's network stack. The tap device is introduced at a point in the path of the network that is felt should be observed, so that it can copy data IP packets and send them to a monitoring device. The network designer will decide where that significant point for the network tap should be placed in the network infrastructure, based on the reason for network interface observation: data gathering, analysis, general network monitoring (such as for saturation and latency), or more critical, such as for intrusion detection, etc.