How to Better Access and Monitor Converged Network Traffic

Network managers today need to view, monitor and analyze their network traffic for a variety of reasons, including security, quality of service, compliance and deep packet inspection. Since all services are transported on a common converged network, isolating the service of interest can exhaust the resources of the monitoring equipment, adding significant capital and operating expenses. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Jesse Price discusses solutions for accessing traffic from converged networks, and presents an innovative approach to converged network monitoring access.


As converged networks become a reality, network operators are facing complex challenges with respect to network monitoring. Because monitoring is a vital factor in the health of any network, tools that monitor specific services traveling in the same converged pipe are inundating the network. However, most of these tools only need access to a small fraction of the data in a high-speed line. The process of isolating the service of interest for each tool is exhausting the resources of the monitoring equipment, which, in turn, is increasing capital and operating expenses.

Network operators have to make a choice: either refit the network with new monitoring equipment and distribute the traffic, or eliminate the traffic that is not of interest. This article will drill down into this problem, discuss solutions that have been implemented in the past, and present a new, innovative approach to converged network monitoring access.

The network core is the optimal location to install network monitoring equipment because all of the traffic throughout the network will typically traverse the core. This approach to monitoring is not without its problems though. Namely, because there are increasingly faster data rates at the core, existing monitoring equipment can quickly exhaust processing resources when sifting through the massive amounts of data in an effort to find only the traffic that is relevant to its specific monitoring requirements.

As network topology continues to grow, converge and increase in speed, existing monitoring equipment often can be rendered obsolete since it can no longer attach to the network. Compounding this problem is the reality that networks generally have not just one, but multiple best-of-class tools attached at the core-each of which needs access to only a small fraction of the traffic that is traveling through the core network on the same high-speed lines. As a result, none of the tools operate at their peak performance levels.