It is often required to monitor Ethernet traffic to identify packet errors. It is necessary to Tap into an Ethernet connection, and there are two ways of achieving this:
Using an Ethernet Switch
An Ethernet Switch may provide a Monitoring connection. The Switch inserted into the Ethernet connection. The Ethernet Analyser is connected to the Monitoring Port of the Switch.
This method has the disadvantage of possible dropped packets when the Ethernet connection is heavily loaded.
Using a Network TAP
A Network TAP (Test Access Point) is connected in the same way as the Switch except network data is passed through the TAP unimpeded. The unbuffered connection provides a more reliable connection.
Network taps are often used for:
- Network intrusion detection
- VoIP recording
- RMON probes
- Packet sniffers
- Security applications
The TAP is not identifiable on the network in any way and will often still function when powered-down.
The Debug Store offers a range of Ethernet Network TAPS from ProfiTAP, a company specialising in this technology.
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Ethernet technology is becoming commonplace in entertainment technology. This means that end users, specifiers, designers and engineers need to know the rules: What can you do' What can't you do' And what can you get away with'.