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Extra Large Visibility, Small Package

(SmartNA-XL Delivers Big Box Performance)

There are many reasons why managers are deploying multiple tools to monitor network links. More than ever, accurate, consistent and complete network visibility is important to maintaining high availability, reliability and security. Choosing the right TAPs and packet brokers is critical to managing the many specialized tools required to understand and protect network traffic.

Most Expensive Network Asset

It is likely that the most expensive data center asset is space. Of course, the cost of real estate varies greatly from location to location. However, broadly speaking, the ground where you bolt down your racks and the building covering your equipment, is more expensive than the equipment in the rack.

For example, look at a major mobile carrier. Transitioning to 5G requires a large number of low power cell sites compared to earlier generations that use fewer sites with more power per site. In order to add hundreds or thousands of new cell sites, the company must identify feasible locations, navigate local zoning regulations, identify network requirements, negotiate lease terms, obtain permits, engineer and build out the sites. This is a very expensive undertaking. Therefore, maximizing the utilization of each cell site where network equipment resides can provide handsome returns to the organization.

Developing, enhancing or adding new data centers or colocations sites requires similar processes. So, data centers are expensive undertakings well before the first equipment rack is bolted to the floor.

Bigger, Faster, More

Advances in processing and memory technology provide more bandwidth, speed and mobility to end devices. Demand drivers for these advances include IoT utilizing more connected devices, home based employees accessing corporate resources over personal devices and Big Data capturing and analyzing massive amounts of data from everywhere.

These trends magnify the current critical need for a comprehensive network visibility strategy. Permanent, accurate and complete monitoring of all network traffic is required for future planning, trouble diagnostics, performance enhancement and, of course, security.

There is no single tool that can provide bulletproof security, accurate traffic analysis, maximum performance efficiency and trouble alarms. Therefore, networks must connect multiple, specialized tools. TAPs are required for fail-safe connection of these tools to network links. Packet Brokers are required for efficient management of connected tools. So, in addition to all the tools needed to monitor and secure links, there are two additional boxes required to safely connect and pass traffic to these tools. When you add in associated power sources and cable runs even a small network can require significant real estate for monitoring and protection.

A Better Way

What if a company came up with a way to combine fail-safe TAP connectivity with advanced Packet Broker tool management features all in one compact chassis? The future is here with the SmartNA-XL developed by Network Critical, a global innovator of network visibility solutions.

The SmartNA-XL provides extra-large box features in a compact 1RU chassis with internal power supplies for additional space efficiency and reliability. All the critical TAP features such as fail-safe network protection in the event of a power failure, auto port lock to prevent tampering and dual, hot swappable AC or DC power supplies are included. In addition to basic TAP features, the SmartNA-XL includes advance tool management features found in sophisticated Packet Brokers. Some of these features include:

Aggregation - Allows a single tool to manage multiple under-utilized links.

Port Mapping - Sends live network traffic in to any port and a mirror copy of the traffic out to any or multiple tool ports. Traffic can be passed port to port within a module or module to module within the chassis.

Filtering - Send only relevant data to specific tools allowing the tools to work faster.

Flexibility - Twenty available modules can be used to connect copper, optical fiber, SFP cages or combinations at speeds from 1Gbps to 40Gbps.

Throughput - Non-blocking 480Gbps throughput.

Load Balancing - High speed link traffic can be distributed to multiple lower speed tools.

Packet Manipulation - Payload masking, header stripping and payload masking allow compliance with data privacy regulations.


Programming the sophisticated features of the SmartNA-XL Hybrid TAP/Packet Broker would be difficult and time consuming via a standard Command Line Interface. However, the integrated Drag-n-Vu™ Graphical User Interface, simplifies deployment and management of features. Tasks that would normally take hours to set up can now easily be developed and

initiated in minutes with simple drag and click operations. Drag-n-Vu™ is intuitive, graphical and even provides warnings if attempted operations go against set rules. Simplicity of operation and accuracy of deployment will save time and keep the network safe during cut-over of new tools.

XL Performance, XS Space

The SmartNA-XL is uniquely designed to save CAPEX by combining the functionality of two boxes into one box. This physical space advantage also includes the elimination of external power supplies in the rack and a reduction of inter-box cable runs. Sophisticated Packet Broker features allow more complete and efficient utilization of tools reducing the number of tools that need to be deployed. Reuse of older legacy tools also further reduces the initial outlay of equipment. See the comparison chart here.

Not to be overlooked is ongoing OPEX savings provided by simplified system deployment and management. Reducing the complexity lowers operating costs.

It is more important now than ever to invest in complete, accurate and persistent traffic monitoring and security. The SmartNA-XL is the solution for simplified execution of a complex visibility problem. To further simplify the purchase process, Network Critical is offering the SmartNA-XL with a no risk Try Before You Buy program. For more detailed information on the SmartNA-XL Hybrid TAP/Packet Broker and the Try Before You Buy program visit this page.


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