Unlike switches and hubs, network taps operate independently of your network hardware. Network TAPs create a copy of the (electrical or optical) signals on the wire allowing you to capture the packets exactly as they were on the wire; unlike port mirroring (span ports) TAPs don't drop packets at high rates.
While copper TAPs require power, optical TAPs generally do not, though of course both take rack space.
For complete discussions of port mirroring vs taps, see the blog articles by Tim O'Neil and Richard Bejtlich.
See also: SwitchReference, HubReference, CaptureSetup.
Tap Hardware Documentation
Great Scott Gadgets / Michael Ossmann
Keysight (formerly Ixia)
midBit Technologies, LLC - SharkTap
Viavi Solutions (formerly Network Instruments)
Imported from https://wiki.wireshark.org/TapReference on 2020-08-11 23:26:23 UTC