As a broker for a wide variety of communication services, we often find ourselves fielding questions about other kinds of “brokers.” What they are, what purpose they serve, etc. And network packet brokers (NPBs) are no exception. So we’re going to take a moment to unpack what a network packet broker is, what function it serves, and why you want to choose a provider who uses them.
What is a network packet broker?
A network packet broker isn’t a provider that will help you find the best network services for your business. A network packet broker is a software product that automatically monitors and analyzes the data – or “network packets” – that are traveling your network. The best kind of NPBs have a user-friendly interface that allows your IT team to see relevant data, set relevant policies, etc.
Quick Definition: “Network packets” or “data packets” are basically units of data that are grouped together and sent over your network. Think of them as multiple letters carrying one singular message to a specific destination.
What does network packet broker software do?
NPB software can do many things, but their function falls into two basic categories: monitoring and optimizing.
- Monitoring. An NPB offers better visibility into what is happening on your network and who is using it. By monitoring the data packets sent on your network, you can spot both important trends in data usage as well as potential security issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.
- Optimizing. NPBs can also help to manage Quality of Service (QoS), allowing for faster, more reliable internet connections. They do this by finding and eliminating bandwidth hogs (devices that take up more of the internet than they need), identifying and prioritizing high-priority data, and optimizing the performance of mission-critical applications.
It sounds simple, but it’s anything but. A smart NPB performs highly complex functions so that you can reap the benefits. We’ll name just a few below:
Intelligent Filtering. Network packet brokers can filter traffic to specific monitoring tools, which helps network engineers only focus on relevant data. This feature makes traffic more efficient, speeds up incident analysis, and reduces response times.
Load Balancing. This ability is invaluable to network administrators. NPBs allows them to automatically distribute incoming traffic to the right locations. How? By allowing admins to direct traffic based on their preferred security policies. It also allows them to load balance easily – distributing traffic equally across devices so users don’t experience sudden lags.
Intelligent Packet Aggregation. To increase the efficiency of a network, NPBs often combine multiple data packets into one, larger packet before sending them to their destination. Aggregating packets into one, larger packet, will make it easier and faster for the network transmit, leading to better overall performance. It’s often used when sending large files, streaming media, or conducting a voice or video call.
Why is a network packet broker important?
Network packet brokers are important to businesses of all sizes because they provide better visibility, and control of traffic on a network. You’re no longer in the dark about how your network functions, what issues it might be struggling with, or how to deal with them. Now you can spot trends and potential security issues while also optimizing network resources and QoS – all from a single online interface.
Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Provider
At GreenStar, we’re here to help you find the perfect network provider for your business. Thanks to our decades of industry experience, we’re familiar with what providers offer network packet broker software as part of their services and which do not. Interested in seeing our recommendations? Book your free consultation today!