ANIC adapters are most often used in security and network monitoring appliances that are fed network traffic from a passive optical TAP or SPAN port. In other words, traffic that is replicated from a live network link. Each network link is bi-directional with send and receive traffic. Each direction of the link is fed into a separate network port on the ANIC adapter. So, for a single bi-directional link, two ANIC ports are used: one for the receive direction and one for the send direction.
For the host application (e.g. security or network monitoring) there is little distinction between send and receive traffic; meaning the host must analyze both sides equally. To maintain the time sequence integrity of the network traffic, an ANIC adapter merges together (in timestamp order) the packets that form both sides of the traffic flow. In this way, the application sees both sides of the traffic flow and can analyze as if it is seeing the traffic “conversation” as it happened.
For a complete review of all ANIC adapter features, download the full ANIC features overview below.