Network Packet Broker Overview

If you use one or more third-party security appliances (a security chain) as part of your overall security suite, you can use Network Packet Broker to filter and forward network traffic to those security appliances. Network Packet Broker replaces the Decryption Broker feature introduced in PAN-OS 8.1.
Like Decryption Broker, Network Packet Broker provides decryption capabilities and security chain management. This simplifies your network by eliminating complications from supporting dedicated devices for those functions and reduces capital and operating costs. Also like Decryption Broker, Network Packet Broker provides health checks to ensure that the path to the security chain is healthy and options for handling traffic if a chain goes down.
Network Packet Broker expands the firewall’s security chain forwarding capabilities so that you can filter and forward not only decrypted TLS traffic, but also non-decrypted TLS and non-TLS (cleartext) traffic to one or more security chains based on applications, users, devices, IP addresses, and zones. These features are especially valuable in very high security environments such as financial and government institutions.
Upgrade and downgrade:
  • When you upgrade to PAN-OS 10.2 on firewalls that have a Decryption Broker license:
    • The license name changes automatically to Network Packet Broker after you reboot the firewall.
      You must reboot the firewall to make the license take effect and update the user interface regardless of whether the firewall is a standalone firewall, part of an HA pair, or if you push Network Packet Broker licenses to firewalls from Panorama.
    • PAN-OS translates any existing Decryption Broker Forwarding profiles (
      Profiles
      Decryption
      Forwarding Profile
      ) into Packet Broker profiles.
    • PAN-OS translates any existing Decryption Policy rules for forwarding traffic to security chains into Network Packet Broker policy rules.
    • PAN-OS removes the Decryption Broker profile from the user interface and replaces it with the Packet Broker profile (
      Profiles
      Packet Broker
      ), and also adds the Network Packet Broker policy (
      Policies
      Network Packet Broker
      ).
  • When you downgrade to PAN-OS 10.0 from PAN-OS 10.1:
    • PAN-OS translates any existing Packet Broker profiles into Decryption Broker Forwarding profiles.
    • PAN-OS removes the Network Packet Broker rulebase and prints a warning message. You must reconfigure the Network Packet Broker policy rules as Decryption policy rules for Decryption Forwarding.
    • The license name remains Network Packet Broker (the license name changes from Decryption Broker to Network Packet Broker in all PAN-OS versions after a reboot and does not affect the operation of Decryption Broker). However, the functionality is Decryption Broker functionality, not Network Packet Broker functionality.
    • PAN-OS removes the Network Packet Broker profile from the user interface and replaces it with the Decryption Forwarding profile, and also removes the Network Packet Broker policy from the user interface (there is no replacement; you use Decryption Policy rules to forward only decrypted Forward Proxy traffic to security chains).
Requirements for using Network Packet Broker:
  • You must install a free Packet Broker license on the firewall. Without the free license, you can’t access the Packet Broker policy and profile in the interface.
  • The firewall must have at least two available layer 3 Ethernet interfaces to use as a dedicated pair of packet broker forwarding interfaces.
    • You can configure multiple pairs of dedicated Network Packet Broker forwarding interfaces to connect to different security chains.
    • For each security chain, the pair of dedicated Network Packet Broker interfaces must be in the same security zone.
    • The pair of dedicated interfaces connect to the first and last devices in a security chain.
    Network Packet Broker supports routed layer 3 security chains and Transparent Bridge Layer 1 security chains. For routed layer 3 chains, one pair of packet broker forwarding interfaces can connect to multiple layer 3 security chains using a properly configured switch, router, or other device to perform the required layer 3 routing between the firewall and the security chains.
  • Dedicated Network Packet Broker forwarding interfaces cannot use dynamic routing protocols.
  • None of the devices in the security chain can modify the source or destination IP address, source or destination port, or protocol of the original session because the firewall would not be able to match the modified session to the original session and therefore would drop the traffic.
Network Packet Broker supports:
  • Decrypted TLS, non-decrypted TLS, and non-TLS traffic.
  • SSL Forward Proxy, SSL Inbound Inspection, and encrypted SSH traffic.
  • Routed layer 3 security chains.
  • Transparent Bridge layer 1 security chains.
    You can configure both routed layer 3 and layer 1 Transparent Bridge security chains on the same firewall but you must use different pairs of forwarding interfaces for each type.
  • Unidirectional traffic flow through the chain: all traffic to the chain egresses the firewall on one dedicated interface and returns to the firewall on another dedicated interface, so all traffic flows in the same direction through the pair of dedicated Network Packet Broker interfaces.
    Both firewall forwarding interfaces must be in the same zone.
  • Bidirectional traffic flow through the security chain:
    • Client-to-server (c2s) traffic egresses the firewall on one dedicated firewall broker interface and returns to the firewall on another dedicated firewall broker interface.
    • Server-to-client (s2c) traffic uses the same two dedicated firewall broker interfaces as c2s traffic, but the traffic flows in the opposite direction through the security chain. The firewall broker interface on which the s2c traffic goes to the chain is the same interface on which the c2s traffic returns from the chain to the firewall. The firewall broker interface on which the s2c traffic returns to the firewall is the same interface on which the c2s traffic egresses to the chain.
    Both firewall forwarding interfaces must be in the same zone.
Network Packet Broker does not support multicast, broadcast, or decrypted SSH traffic.

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