Niagara Networks

Niagara Networks offers network visibility solutions that maximize pervasiveness and cost-effectiveness
in monitoring, managing, and securing network resources.

What is an NPB and why you need one

What Exactly Does a Network Packet Broker Do

  1. Total Network Visibility – Identifying known, suspicious, and unknown traffic passing through the network C28
  2. Network robustness – Ensuring data loss prevention and advanced C14filtering, as well as high availability, stripping, and other special-purpose packet capabilities
  3. Network management – Not just knowing how to monitor network traffic, but also knowing what to do with each type of traffic: where to pass known (authorized) data types, and how to handle suspicious and unknown traffic

Why You Need a Network Packet Broker

In their role as data analyzers, Niagara’s Packet Brokers can also handle deduplication of redundant (duplicate) packets before they reach analysis or security tools within the network, that are passed along by multiple taps forwarding their data traffic. The NPBs will eliminate those duplicates and make sure network tools do not waste resources on handling redundant data.

What is a Network Packet Broker

A Network Packet Broker (NPB) is an active device that directs selected raw data packets from network interfaces (typically via SPAN or tap points) to specific network service and monitoring devices, and performance management and security applications.


Fixed NPB

Niagara’s signature FixedBroker is a high density, high performance, NPB series that packs a lot of power into a compact, 1U form factor. FixedBroker supports non-blocking chip-based switching fabric and a range of network interfaces up to 100Gb.
Some products offer multiple network interface types for easy aggregation and stacking. All FixedBroker products include Niagara’s pioneering packet heartbeat technology and fabric flow technology for an exhaustive built-in set of packet broker features including replication, aggregation, filtering, load balancing, and more.

What is a Network Bypass Switch?

A Network Bypass Switch is a hardware device, which ensures failover or fail-safe capabilities for an inline networking device or a network security tool (such as a firewall or an intrusion detection and prevention system). If the network appliance fails or needs to be taken off-line for whatever reason, its traffic is automatically rerouted, ensuring uninterrupted traffic flow on the network.

Eliminating Points of Failure

Sometimes also referred to as a bypass tap, the network bypass switch, is a special type of active tap. It is used to connect a network segment at a specific network access point (AP) where there is an active, inline device (such as a security tool that is there for inspection and monitoring purposes).

Understanding Bypass Switch


“Normal operation of a network bypass:
The traffic between 2 network elements N1 and N2 goes through an inline network security tool.”


“In the case of a failure of the inline tool/appliance –
the bypass makes sure the traffic between N1 and N2 remains up and running.”


“In the case of power failure of the bypass switch itself,
the traffic between N1 and N2 continues to flow thanks to optical/copper relay”

Heartbeat Protection

Protecting the network traffic flow in case of appliance failures.

The BypassP² transmits a user-configurable heartbeat on the appliance ports. In the event of an appliance malfunction (such as a software crash, system failure, or loss of power), the failure is detected, and the BypassP² redirects the traffic intended for the inline appliance to the network ports, allowing it to continue to flow through the network link. This feature also enables the network appliances or network security tools to be removed and replaced without network downtime. Once the system is backed up, or the power is restored to the appliance, it is detected by the BypassP² heartbeat mechanism, and network traffic is seamlessly diverted back to the inline device, allowing it to resume its critical functions.

Failsafe Protection

Protecting the network traffic flow in case of BypassP² failure.

When power fails, the optical relays in the bypass switch ensure that the network flow continues uninterrupted. The optical relays can be configured to fail open or fail close to meet specific deployment needs. This ensures uninterrupted network services under all conditions.

Network Tap

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 intricate 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. although it taps into the traffic, the network tap does not modify it in any way, and the traffic on the network is unaffected by the act of monitoring or port mirroring. Since the monitoring is performed on a copy of the traffic by a device external to the network, via a tap network adapter, this deployment is often referred to as ‘out of band’.

Understanding Bypass Switch

Active Network Taps

These monitoring/tap ports provide a fixed tap configuration. N1(Rx) is connected to T1, N2(Rx) is connected to T2. In case of power failure and hardware devices ceasing to operate, while the network traffic flow is maintained, the integrated active tap point loses its visibility.

Passive Network Taps

  1. These monitoring/tap ports also provide a fixed tap configuration. N1(Tx) is connected to monitoring port M1, N2(Tx) is connected to monitoring port M
  2. In case of a power failure, the monitoring/tap ports’ traffic flow is maintained, since they are directly connected to the corresponding network ports via passive splitters.

Heartbeat Protection

Ability to see the ‘forest’ and the ‘trees’.
Seamlessly navigate between three panes of management, from group view to detailed device view.
Available in a self-install virtual machine package.User Management, User Roles, and Authentication.

What is a Network Visibility Controller (NVC)?

Network management for the visibility layer is a critical mechanism for Information security and IT professionals to enable them to locate, isolate, and implement network visibility solutions for performance and network security-related issues. In today’s fast-paced, digital-first ecosystem, complete visibility is vital in maintaining control of your network and eliminating (or at least minimizing) blind spots and system downtime.

NVC03The pro-active management mechanism should address the following two primary concerns:
1. Enable a comprehensive 360° network visibility (on your visibility layer)
2. Enable simple and intuitive configuration of the network nodes for optimal traffic management

Niagara’s Visibility Controller - bringing visibility to your network

Niagara Visibility Controller (NVC) is an enterprise-wide unified manager for network visibility. Whether you are an administrator looking for an overview of all of your visibility nodes (network packet brokers, network taps, network bypasses) for your virtual data center, or an engineer studying the configuration details, the key to addressing the evolving and dynamic needs of the network visibility layer is best described as being seamless.

Advanced abstraction layer - for time management and network-wide application awareness

The NVC empowers a true application-aware network to manage and improve the performance of business-critical devices and applications. It monitors devices such as network routers, access points and switches, and various wireless controllers. The NVC’s advanced abstraction layer enables the creation of an intelligent, dynamic, and responsive network visibility layer – one that interacts with the network services in real-time. The abstraction layer also serves to hide the complexities associated with managing and configuring the visibility layer, thus increasing the ease of use. It opens new opportunities for network administrators to enhance their service offerings and service management. Moreover, by increasing the ease of use, the probability for errors and the time and effort to manage the network visibility layer is significantly reduced.

Simple Orchestration for Complex Visibility Configurations

Network services and applications are mushrooming to encompass increased levels of sophistication and complexity involving application monitoring, performance management, and network security. The increase in service complexity increases the importance of an intuitive and user-friendly flow that enables engineers to accomplish their tasks quicker and with fewer errors. NVC enables authorized users to easily and seamlessly configure their visibility nodes. By treating connected visibility nodes as a single virtual switching fabric, configuring multi-device solutions becomes transparent without the need to manually configure each of the connected devices one by one.

NVC Main Features

1. Centralized management, monitoring, and configuration of multiple visibility nodes.
2. Reducing configuration time and errors.SDN architecture – OpenFlow discovery and topology visualization.
3. User-friendly and intuitive fabric flow creation.
4. Easy-to-complete firmware updates and configurations updates of multiple visibility nodes from a single-pane-of-glass UI.
5. REST API support for programmability.
6. Unified management for network packet brokers, network bypasses, and network taps.
7. Ability to see the ‘forest’ and the ‘trees’.
8. Seamlessly navigate between three panes of management, from group view to detailed device view.
9. Available in a self-install virtual machine package.User Management, User Roles, and Authentication.

Four trends that result in an increasing processing and efficiency gap.


Increased network complexity


Increased user demand & bandwidth


Increased volume of network tools


Increased tool sophistication & operations

What does Niagara’s Network Intelligence offer?

Taking the motto of “getting the right traffic to the right tool” to the next level.

By performing more advanced traffic processing, the network appliance will receive traffic from the NPB more efficiently, in a manner that it can actually process. For example, TLS decryption, traffic that the network tool cannot otherwise process if it’s encrypted.  Niagara NI, the NPB can perform more advanced traffic processing so that the network tool can be off-loaded to focus its resources on its designed task. See the list of supported applications.

Open Visibility Platform

All Network Intelligence applications are seamlessly integrated into the fabric flow operation of the host multipurpose visibility node. Users can apply the NI application on the traffic from user-friendly, hassle-free menu screens.

Tool Sprawl Consolidation

Enable consolidation of the tool sprawl by physically deploying the network tools together within the network packet broker. The enterprise is able to significantly reduce operational costs and deployment complexity. Here we are leveraging the ability to accommodate and host multiple network appliances in each in their own virtual machine or as bare-metal integration all inside the NPB.

Super secure your data with Niagara Networks

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