How To Understand Switch Port Mirroring, Mapping and Analysis

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Port mirroring is a process of monitoring network traffic. It essentially forwards a duplicate bit of each incoming and outgoing network packet.  These fast packets go from one port of a network switch to another port. This is the switch where the packet can be studied for close network monitoring connection.

Its function is quite useful in maintenance of network appliances.  Aside from these, network appliances need close supervision of network traffic. Switch port mirroring acts as a security feature in the network similar to illegal infiltration-detection system. Cisco Systems often refers to port mirroring as Switch Port Analyzer (SPAN) while others call them Roving Analysis Port (RAP) on 3Com switches.

Port mirroring is essential for traffic analysis on a switch. Compared to a hub that broadcast packets simultaneously to all ports, the switch only sends packets to the selected port where its destination device is attached.

You can configure port mirroring on the switch to deliver copies of unicast traffic to the port such as the local analyzer port or the analyzer VLAN. By doing so, you can study the mirrored traffic using a program that analyze protocol flow. The monitoring application can be installed on the system connected to the analyzer output interface or on a distant monitoring base.

For mapping and analysis, you can download the following port mirroring tools from the Internet:

NorthWest Performance Software, Inc. This company offers the Managed Switch Port Mapping (MSPM) application that is programmed to interact with a monitored Ethernet switch utilizing SNMPv1/v2c application. It thoroughly maps the physical port connections to MAC and IP addresses of the connected devices. The mapping application is designed for optimal functionality on MS Windows operating systems.

Manage Engine. Switch Port Mapper (SMP) assists network engineers distinguish the switch port to which a device is attached. This technology effectively removes the necessity of manually tracing network cables. This effective tool finds out the devices that are connected into each port.  This mapping tool is great asset for network and system engineers to obtain visibility into the VLAN, MAC, IP, status and the vacancy of ports.  The network administrator can get live and instant results, thus viewing the operational status and bit rate of individual ports.

Solar Winds.  Do not waste your time in tracing where the devices are attached to each hub or switch on your network by crawling through hub closets, power cord jungles and trampling on the network cables. You can easily lose your way, get a mental breakdown and dampen your professional outfit. It introduces the pride of Solar Winds technologies: the Switch Port Mapper (SPM). With this neat port mapper, your connections are identified in a click of the mouse. This neat network analyzing application can create a logical map where the ports are associated with certain IP addresses in a blink of an eye. Aside from this feature of remotely figuring out devices that are connected to port on switch or hubs, the Switch Port Mapper can discover the MAC addresses and IP addresses too. It also reports the hostname of the related devices including the important details of each port such as operational status and port bit rate. When you had discovered your devices, you can easily create reports in file formats such as HTML, CSV, PDF, Excel in just a few mouse clicks and print away!


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