Updated Trident 4 Monitors Connections

Broadcom has added a network-scanning engine to its 12.8Tbps Trident 4 Ethernet switch. Capable of fingerprinting every packet, the engine improves network security.
Joseph Byrne
Joseph Byrne

The business principle that measurement is essential to management applies equally to networking. Taking this idea to heart, Broadcom has upgraded the network analysis and telemetry engine in its fastest Trident 4 switches for core enterprise systems. From atop these systems, IT managers can view the entire LAN.

A large LAN, however, may transport hundreds of thousands of flows and terabits per second—a challenge for traffic monitoring. Since the 1990s, networks have run NetFlow software to characterize packets. To keep up with rising data rates, NetFlow resorted to sampling rather than inspecting every packet. As the sample rate falls, however, the likelihood of undetected problems increases.

Broadcom tackled this challenge by adding hardware to its Trident 3 switch chips for connecting the enterprise network to clients such as PCs. Given the lower data rates at the edge, this hardware can scan each packet instead of merely sampling.

The company has now implemented a faster scanning engine in its highest-throughput switch chip, Trident 4. Customers can now gain visibility into their entire network by upgrading only a few LAN core switches instead of many edge switches.

The new Trident 4 X11C (BCM56890), which includes the new scanning engine, began sampling this month. Broadcom withheld pricing but says it’ll keep the X11C consistent with the Trident 4 X11 (BCM56880) it released in 2019. Power consumption is also similar to the X11’s.

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