This morning I found I was quoted in a press release for the new Net Optics iTap GigaBit Port Aggregator tap. This is a cool device that I expect to test soon. I participated in a Think Tank where the concept of an "intelligent tap" was first introduced. From the installation guide (.pdf):
The iTap Port Aggregator displays the link utilization level, last peak with time right on the front panel so you can see real-time utilization on both directions of the network link. The iTap Port Aggregator is accessible from remote interfaces that provide information and control from anywhere in the network.
If you're scared by the thought of a tap offering network statistics via a front panel display, SNMP, and a Web interface, you can disable all of them and deploy the tap in "dumb" mode. It would be cheaper to buy a dumb tap, though!
It makes a lot of sense to introduce this device on a port aggregator model. Port aggregators are vulnerable to dropping traffic when the total bandwidth load exceeds the capacity of the output interface. With the iTap, you can see immediate and ongoing traffic statistics that ensure you're observing and collecting what you expect.
On an unrelated note:I think Blogger may be using a small set of CAPTCHAs to frustrate posting "spam". I actually recognize the CAPTCHA I had to enter for this post. I've had to manually delete several proxy list spam posts over the last few days, too.