Packet brokers intelligently move traffic to the various security and monitoring tools that required network information. Without an NPB, all data is sent to all devices, which requires a product like a firewall to pre-process data before analyzing it. Given the cost of these devices, this might be the costliest way to deploy security and management tools.
Many organizations lack network granular network visibility, which is vital when it comes to cybersecurity and application performance. Organizations used to have specialized security tools in place like a firewall, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), monitoring tools and web proxies, just to name a few. Today, cybersecurity is a mesh of many different tools on the network, all of which require different data sets. With a massive amount of data being generated across networks, having access to the right data for the right set of tools is key.
I recently spoke with Taran Singh, VP of Products at Keysight, about the importance of packet brokers and how the company’s next-generation products are eliminating blind spots in complex, high-speed networks. Highlights of the ZKast interview, done in conjunction with eWEEK eSPEAKS, are below.
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- The data pre-processing capabilities of NPBs reduce the complexity of medium and large network and security environments. This gives IT and SecOps teams full visibility into what’s happening within their network instead of having to throttle or limit data based on tool performance. The more tools a company has, the more value an NPB provides.
- A packet broker aggregates all the data across the enterprise and filters the traffic based on the type of tools an organization has deployed. To use an analogy, it’s like a traffic cop for different types of traffic. For example, if a company has a full email stack of security tools, the packet broker filters the email traffic and sends it to that stack.
- Vertical industries have needs that general packet brokers cannot address. Some Keysight packet brokers are designed for financial markets and high frequency trading. Others specialize in the 4G/5G service provider correlation space, where subscriber correlation must happen for data that’s coming from the edge to the mobile network. Then, in the enterprise, packet brokers are customized based on the type of applications companies use.
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- Recently, Keysight rolled out two new full featured 400 Series packet brokers for enterprises and service providers. Since many organizations are moving toward adopting high-speed networking stacks, the packet brokers are flexible in supporting speeds from 10-Gigs to 400-Gigs. They scale as the needs of the enterprise or the service provider change.
- The first product, Vision Edge 400S, offers traffic aggregation with advanced tunneling, internet protocol (IP) header filtering, load balancing, and timestamping features. The second product, Vision 400, comes with innovative security monitoring features, such as packet processing for complex overlay networks.
- What’s also unique about this family of products is their ability to interpret various overlay protocols on multiple ports. They support both non-return-to-zero (NRZ) and pulse amplitude modulation 4 (PAM4) standards for maximum port density. This is something Keysight hasn’t previously offered. The 400 Series packet brokers provide a view of multiple links on one unit and can be upgraded to higher network speeds.
- For organizations that are investing cybersecurity tools, Keysight recommends ensuring that the tools are seeing all data that comes across the network. This can be achieved by deploying packet brokers and automating cybersecurity stacks. The artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities that power today’s cybersecurity tools can work together with packet brokers to provide complete visibility, so nothing slips through the back door.