Network Packet Brokers are typically used to filter and direct network traffic to Tools. Tools are typically network appliances intended to provide security or analytic functions such as Intrusion Detection, Intrusion Prevention, or Content Filtering. Often, these tools are deployed inline. When network tools are deployed inline, all traffic must pass through them before reaching its eventual destination. It’s easy to see how failure of an inline tool can bring traffic to a halt.
Niagara Networks recognizes that network failures are unacceptable. Niagara’s Network Packet Brokers are designed to provide an extra margin of safety with their advanced Bypass Technology. Bypass Solutions are well-named. When a network element fails, the Bypass effectively connects the two network links that would have been impacted directly together, via the Packet Broker’s switching fabric. Some functionality, such as network analytics, is interrupted, but mission-critical traffic continues to flow until the problem can be resolved. If load balancing is enabled for multiple identically configured tools, the Packet Broker will simply stop passing traffic through the failed device and distribute the load to the remaining tools.
Niagara understands Bypass Technology. Our first products were dedicated Bypass Appliances, intended to protect networks from tool failures, and we’ve pioneered many of the developments in the field. We offer integrated Bypass in all of our Network Packet Broker products. Our Modular Network Packet Broker Solutions include Copper Ethernet as well as fiber-optic Bypass for all speeds and modes, from 1 to 100 Gigabits per second. Niagara’s bypass technology is fully integrated into our Network Packet Brokers. You’ll never have to buy an extra “Bypass Switch."
Niagara’s Bypass technology relies on Heartbeat frames to detect tool failures. Heartbeat frames are generated on the appliance ports and the tools are expected to bridge these frames. When heartbeat frames don’t appear where they’re expected, the Bypass function is activated and traffic is shunted around the failed appliance. Once the tool is restored to normal operation and heartbeats begin to flow again, the Bypass function is terminated and traffic is again directed through the tool.
Below are a few examples of Bypass Solutions from Niagara Networks: