Frequently Asked Questions

Terminology

What is a Passive Network TAP?

A Passive Network TAP is a hardware appliance used for fiber optic networks to create copies of your entire traffic at wire speed, without interacting with other in-line tools or interrupting traffic flows. Also, it won’t cause the network devices to go offline if the TAP remains without power. In case of power loss, traffic will flow uninterrupted if the network itself still has power.

What is an Active Network TAP?

An Active Network TAP is most of the times used for copper networks and has a fail-safe feature that activates in case of complete power failure. This type of network TAPs are often developed to be linked to in-line security applications, such as firewalls, anti-malware devices or intrusion detection systems.

What is the difference between Active & Passive TAPs?

A “passive TAP” has no affect at all on the network after it is installed, it is completely invisible to any other device and traffic. An “active TAP” is also completely invisible to the actual network, however, the active TAP allows the IDS or network monitoring solution to inject TCP reset packets back onto the live network.

What is a Network Packet Broker?

A network packet broker (or an NPB) is a hardware tool that acts as a dealer between the traffic that passes through the network and the monitoring and security tools. It provides only the relevant data to these in-line tools. Also, an NPB aggregates and filter data to their respective monitoring tools.

What does Fail-Safe mean?

In case of complete power failure, our Network TAPs guarantee that the link remains operational by instantly switching to a fully passive mode. This means that even if a network TAP loses power, a set of copper relays will fall into a closed position to provide a passive bypass.

What is Link Failure Propagation?

TAPs with Link Failure Propagation transmit link failure errors between ports, allowing the network to activate a redundant path, while the TAP stays available for auto-negotiation. LFP reduces downtime and is essential for high-availability networks.

Our Products

What SFP modules are your products compatible with?

Profitap products support third party SFP modules. There is no lock-in in place. However, our products are tested and approved with Profitap SFP modules. To ensure high reliability and quick support we recommend using Profitap SFP modules.

Software

How do I update my product to the latest software version?

You can download the latest software version for all our product through the Resource Center.

Where can I find the latest drivers?

For the latest drivers, please login to the Resource Center where you will find all the latest drivers and documentation. If you don’t have an account yet, you can create one here.

What third party programs are compatible?

Our devices are standards compliant, meaning that you can connect them with any devices. There are many analyzers, IDS, IPS and probes compatible with our solutions. Among them, we can mention Wireshark, ClearSight, OmniPeek, Packetyzer, OptiView, NetSpector, NetDecoder, Ethertest, etc.

Partnership

How do I become a partner?

If you are a distributor, value-added reseller or system integrator, please go to the Become a Partner page and fill the form at the bottom.

How do I become a reseller?

First, you need to decide what kind of Profitap products you are interested in selling, then send us an email at partners@profitap.com with all the information regarding your company and the products you want to resell.

Do you have any marketing material available for distributors and resellers?

Yes, we offer a partner resources pack with all essentials like brochures, banners, datasheets, manuals, product pictures, supporting visuals, whitepapers, case studies, presentations and more. The pack can be downloaded in the partner section of the Resource Center.

Warranty

What is Profitap's warranty policy and warranty information?

Warranty is offered in three different categories; our Network Packet Brokers, our Active devices and our Passive devices.

In addition to this, we also offer extended warranty options to increase the warranty period. For more information, take a look at our Warranty Page.

Shipping

Do you ship internationally?

Yes.

What is the policy for returns and refunds?

45 days from the date of purchase. See Terms and Conditions here.

What are the delivery times to my country?

Typically, most of our products are supplied from stock, which means we can ship to you via next-day courier service. Standard lead time is 1-3 ARO.

ProfiShark General Questions

Are the speeds the only difference between the different ProfiShark products?

No, here are some more differences between then:
• ProfiShark 100M only monitors the network in-line, while the ProfiShark 1G(+) and 10G(+) models support SPAN and in-line mode.
• Regarding network latency, ProfiShark 100M has no network latency, while the ProfiShark 1G has a maximum latency of 370 nanoseconds at max speed.
• ProfiShark 100M doesn’t support packet slicing in comparison to 1G. Also, ProfiShark 100M can’t capture jumbo frames and the 1G captures any frames between 10 bytes and 10 Kbytes, any encapsulated frames and types of frames (VLAN, VXLAN, MPLS, etc.)
• ProfiShark 1G supports Direct Capture and NIC capture mode.

Can the ProfiShark be used to analyze all Ethernet based fieldbuses?

Yes, the ProfiSharks support all Ethernet based fieldbuses.

What is the difference between the Blue and Black ProfiShark 100M?

There are two different versions of the ProfiShark 100M going around. One with a black label and a new version with a blue label, similar with the other models in the ProfiShark series. The main differences between the new Blue ProfiShark and the black one are:

  • The Blue ProfiShark supports direct capture to disk
  • The Blue ProfiShark is field upgradable
  • The Blue model now features a USB 3.0 port
  • The Blue ProfiShark 100M has the same size as the ProfiShark 1G (69 x 124 x 24 mm)
  • The Blue ProfiShark uses the same Manager as the other ProfiShark models
Is it possible to connect two ProfiShark devices to one laptop to capture packets at 2 different points in a network?

Yes, it’s possible. The ProfiShark Manager can recognize the devices and they can be selected from the dropdown menu in the upper right corner (the new version has an option of renaming the ProfiSharks in the Manager). Also, several instances of the Manager can be run at once.

Can we ensure time synchronisation between two ProfiShark 1G devices?

Time synchronisation is only possible between “+” devices (1G+ or 10G+). They can be synchronised through a PPS cable (not included in the package).

Can ProfiShark 1G guarantee the accuracy/latency of the timestamp measurement? Does it guarantee a timestamp of 8ns accuracy without the need for an additional clock source?

Yes, it guarantees 8ns accuracy without the need for an additional clock source. We do extensive testing, including measuring the devices using oscillators with very high accuracy.

ProfiShark Long-Term Capture

Can Long-term capture with a ProfiShark and a NAS be set up with a driver alone?

Yes, it can. The ProfiShark Long-term capture plug-in can be used with any Intel-based Synology NAS.

Is there extra cost to setting up ProfiShark with a NAS for Long-term Capture?

No. The driver for long-term capture with the ProfiShark is free of charge and available in our resource center.

What NAS models do you recommend for Long-term capture with ProfiShark?

We recommend using Intel-based Synology NAS units and DSM 6.0 or higher.

Bypass TAPs

What does the Heartbeat Functionality mean?

To actively track if the in-line appliance connected to the Bypass TAP is operational, the TAP uses bidirectional and configurable heartbeat packets with the data stream. In turn, these heartbeat packets need to be forwarded by the in-line appliance. But, if the in-line appliance is compromised in any way, these packets will no longer be returned to the Bypass TAP. To ensure that the critical network link stays up, the TAP will enable bypass mode.

What does Manual Bypass mean?

By integrating a Bypass TAP into the network, in-line appliances can be accessed at any time, without impacting network uptime or security. When activating the manual bypass feature in the BP Manager software, the traffic is no longer forwarded to the in-line appliance, so it can be freely accessed, in case you want to add, remove, and/or upgrade it.

What are the typical bypass modes?
  • Normal Bypass Mode: the traffic is forwarded to the appliance and heartbeat packets are injected into the network traffic in both directions.
  • Heartbeat failure, Bypass ON: if the heartbeats packets are sent to the appliance but are not forwarded back, and the Bypass in case of heartbeat failure is set to ON, the logical bypass is activated by the FPGA. The network path between Network Device A and Network Device B remains functional.
  • Heartbeat failure, Bypass OFF: if the heartbeat packets are sent to the appliance but are not forwarded back, and the Bypass in case of heartbeat failure is set to OFF, the FPGA will not activate the bypass feature, resulting in a link failure between Network Device A and Network Device B.
  • Appliance Link Down, Bypass ON: if the Appliance is unpowered or the ports are disconnected, and the “In case the TAP link is DOWN” is set to ON, the logical bypass is activated by the FPGA. The network path between Network Device A and Network Device B remains functional.
  • Appliance Link Down, Bypass OFF: if the Appliance is unpowered or the ports are disconnected, and the “In case the TAP link is DOWN” is set to OFF, the FPGA will not activate the bypass feature, resulting in a link failure between Network Device A and Network Device B.
  • Power Failure, Bypass ON: if power failure occurs and “In case of power failure” is set to ON (fail open), the physical bypass circuit (optical relay) inside the Bypass TAP is activated. The network path between Network Device A and Network Device B remains functional.
  • Power Failure, Bypass OFF: if power failure occurs and “In case of power failure” is set to OFF (fail close), the physical bypass circuit (optical relay) inside the Bypass TAP will not be activated resulting in a link failure between Network Device A and Network Device B.
  • Manual Bypass, TAP ON: If both Manual Bypass and TAP Mode are set to ON, the physical bypass circuit (optical relay) inside the Bypass TAP is activated. The network path between Network Device A and Network Device B remains functional, while the traffic is still being forwarded to the appliance through Tap A and Tap B ports.
  • Manual Bypass, TAP OFF: if Manual Bypass is set to ON but TAP Mode is set to OFF, the physical bypass circuit (optical relay) inside the Bypass TAP is activated. The network path between Network Device A and Network Device B remains functional, but there is no traffic forwarded to the appliance.
When is a Bypass TAP in "On" mode?

The Bypass TAP will be in “On” mode when any of the following happens:

  • Power loss from the bypass TAP
  • Monitor Link failure – either one of, or both, the monitor ports 1 and 2 links are down
  • IPS application failure (caused by loss of power to the IPS or when the heartbeat packets aren’t passing)
  • Bypass On mode is forced manually
When is a Bypass TAP in "Off” mode?

The Bypass will be in “Off” mode when all the following conditions are met::

  • Bypass is in power on
  • Monitor Ports 1 and 2 are up
  • IPS application is running (passing Heartbeat packets and have power)
  • Bypass On mode is not manually forced
Does Profitap Bypass TAP drop packets after a power failure?

Some packet can be lost when going from Bypass Off to Bypass On. Any traffic that is on the monitor path will not be returned to the network and any packets caught in the middle of transition can also be dropped.

Does Profitap Bypass TAP drop packets after a power recovery?

Some packet can be lost when going from Bypass On to Bypass Off. Any traffic that is on the monitor path will not be returned to the network and any packets caught in the middle of transition can also be dropped.

How does the Bypass TAP inject Heartbeats packets if the network link utilization is 100%?

The Heartbeat packets have a higher priority over the network traffic, network packets might be dropped.

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