Net Optics Director Intelligently Filters Network Traffic to Improve Monitoring, Security

Data monitoring switch lets network managers use existing monitoring tools handle more traffic by intelligently filtering traffic

Net Optics, Inc. has released Director, a port-density monitoring access tool that uses TapFlow filtering technology to increase the amount of data network monitoring tools can handle.

Bob Shaw, president and CEO of Net Optics, told Enterprise Strategies that the data monitoring switch lets network managers make use of their existing monitoring tools. "We're cost effective in many ways. For example, by filtering and directing network traffic, IT may not need to buy more expensive monitoring tools when traffic grows beyond its current monitoring capacity. By filtering out what isn't watched, we can send a monitoring tool only the data it needs to keep an eye on. Using existing equipment, buying only the monitoring capacity you need, or delaying upgrades -- all these provide a strong return on investment, which IT is looking for."

IT is being asked to monitor more network points, as well as monitor more detailed information and different data types. Likewise, "network administrators, compliance officers, and security personnel are confronted by quickly increasing amounts of ever-faster multi-protocol network traffic," the company said in a release. This leads to oversubscribed monitoring tools, and "multiple groups with various responsibilities compete for use of the tools and access points." The challenge, Net Optics says, is for IT to provide its monitoring tools with access to all network traffic in a reliable and secure way that doesn't create conflicts between groups.

Director is a data monitoring switch that provides a high-port-density access solution designed for easy installation, configuration, and management. Using the GUI of browser-based or platform-based software, tools are easily moved from one link or set of links on the Director to another set without disconnecting cables or physically moving devices. Director is transparent to the network, and if power is cut from both of the unit’s redundant power supplies, the Director's fully passive design lets in-line network links continue to operate and network traffic continues to flow.

Key Features

Director provides "one-to-one, many-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many mappings of network links and Span ports to monitor ports." That means that traffic from any set of network links and Span ports can be combined into one stream and copied and sent to one or more monitoring ports, so multiple groups can monitor the same data and avoid conflicts. In addition, multiple aggregations can work simultaneously, without interference from each other.

Director lets IT use 1Gbps monitoring tools on 10Gbps networks and 10Gbps monitoring tools on aggregated 1Gbps links. By using a hardware-based filtering engine, latency is low.

The company says that Director has no IP address on the network, keeping it immune to viruses, malware, and intrusions. Director is compatible "with monitoring tools and intrusion detection and prevention systems from all major manufacturers.

Two models are available. The 7400's front panel includes 10 SFP-based 1Gbps monitor ports, 2 XFP-based 10Gbps configurable monitor/network ports, 2 network slots (each supports a dozen 1Gbps network ports), and status LEDs. On the rear panel are two triple-function 10Gbps ports that can be daisy-chained, a 10/100/1000Mbps management port, a RS232-based CLI port, and a USB SW upload port. The 3400 model specs are similar, but lacks 10G ports and has no daisy-chain functionality.

Traffic can be filtered by IP V4 and V6 source and destination addresses, VLAN, IPv4 and IPv6 session pairs, IP subnets, TCP/UDP ports, in-line between network modules, range masks for VLANs, IP and MAC addresses, or ports, and add/drop conditions

Net Optics Director is available now; pricing begins at $11,500. More information is available at

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (