Need some LAN testing equipment

I have a pretty good toner, and a little device that if I plug into a wall drop will tell me if there is activity or not...

But I am looking for some more sophisticated testing equipment...

Not a Fluke, but something that runs a real good test on the drops, perhaps measures the length of the runs to find faults...something to test out the physical nature of the network cabeling...

My budget is about $300...

If this is a piece of software to put on my laptop, that's fine...or a combination of laptop software and some physical device, ok...

As an overview of what I do...In my freelance work I  service a number of small home networks, DLS and cable lines...etc...and a couple of small business peer to peer networks...

In my normal job I cover 3 offices, about 100 users... T1 lines in the offices...Nortel switches and a total of about 8 servers for various functions...a number of printers including Oce' printers...and all offices have wireless...

My company would buy me something, spend maybe $6-800 on it...the home office has 2 Flukes...but I want my own...I will use my own equipment in the office but I won't take company equipment out to use in my freelance work...

Looking for thoughts and ideas as to what I might buy, with about a $300 budget...and maybe add to it next year...



Steve MutchlerIT TechAsked:
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Sam PanwarSr. Server AdministratorCommented:
1. USe ethreal to test your network and monitoring
Ethreal Features
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•      Filter packets on many criteria.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
The closet quality unit to $300 is likely the Fluke 620. It's features include:
"Detects a multitude of wiring problems: open, short, crossed, reversed, split pair
-Locates wiring/connection errors (distance to the open or short)
-Measures cable length"
But it runs about $500 US

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I think what you're looking for is a Psiber Pinger Plus+ - they can be had on ebay for less than $200

They can find out cable length, grab a DHCP address, show weither the port is inactive or physically disconnected, and a lot of other useful stuff. Just plug a cable from the pinger into the wall jack and off it goes.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
You might actually find the Fluke Link Runner more useful and in the same price range as the Fluke 620, as it does more actual network testing than cable testing though it does most of the same basic cable tests. It will also test for speed, duplex, and verify received packets from NIC and switch.
TESTum @

they have some pretty good cable test equipment ranging from $75 for a CAT5 tester to what I want to get
Test-Um NT700 - LanScaper Tester -$228 on the internet

The cheapest equipment for this kind of test is the RWC1000 (Reakl world certifier) that cost around $700. Should take a look to Fluke CableIQ and TestUM NT950 Validator that are faster and give better results.

For only $300 you may be able to find used cheap stuff on ebay...

Steve MutchlerIT TechAuthor Commented:
Lot's of good suggestions...

Been surfing eBay, see if I can grab a deal...

Looking mostly at the Fluke 620...couple used ones on eBay...might try for that...
The Link Runner is too expensive...

But I did find a Fluke Micro Scanner Pro...

Also the Test-um NT700 is affordable...

I'm not sure the Psiber Pinger Plus+ is really what I'm looking for...seems that's really just a sophisticated pinger...

So I have pdf's on each unit and am doing my studying...

Many thanx...

Going to split out some I several good ideas...


thanks for the points...
Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks very much stevem5000.
You mentioned interest in the Fluke Micro Scanner. Unlike most Fluke equipment, that unit used to be sold under another brand name. Fluke bought them out a couple of years ago, but I can't remember the old name. Since you are searching Ebay you might find it under the old name. Just verify by matching the look and features, it hasn't changed much at all. I think even then it was called the Micro Scanner.
Steve MutchlerIT TechAuthor Commented:
Just to let you know I purchased the Test-um NT700...$238 on eBay...

Within my budget...looks like it will do everything I want it to do...

I got the PDF's on each of the units I was looking at and it seemed to me that this unit was easier to use/operate than the Flukes I was looking at...

For measruing length, the Flukes had to be calibrated against a 100' run of wire and in use the wire you were measuring had to be over 50' in length...the NT750 will measure down to about 5' in length...The Flukes also appeared to be a little more complicated to use...and I figgured if I go for a few months of not using the device, then I gotta learn how to use it all over again...

So, the KISS formula applies...:)

Thanx again guys...

Rob WilliamsCommented:
I am surprised it only measures cable lengths of over 50'. The ones I have, measure down to 1 foot, the calibration cable is 6", but I guess they are more expensive, $5K+.
However, the 100' calibration is for calibrating for different types of wire. Different wire types, such as CAT5 and CAT6 have different twist rates internally. Cat 6 for instance has a tighter twist and therefore the actual copper wire inside of a 100' CAT 6 cable is longer than the copper in a 100' CAT 5. Thus to be truly accurate it needs to be calibrated, and length is important to average the twists.
Sounds like yours will do the job, just fine
Good luck,
Steve MutchlerIT TechAuthor Commented: I recall, I don't think the instuctions mentioned anything about differentiating between CAT5 and 6...and I agree the different twists would change the capacitance or indunctance of the wire...but the NT700 does not indicate
that any calibration was necessary...and since a lot of my runs are less than 50'...I figgured it was a necessity...

Anyway...NT700 is a start and if I need something better in the future, I can work up...

Probably the next thing is a wireless device like the Test-um WP150...or similiar..

Many thanx for the suggestions...

Rob WilliamsCommented:
The calibration difference using different cables is quite minor so some devices likely  don't take it into account. You can spend a fortune on test gear if you want. I know I have >$25,000 worth of Fluke but it is probably only worth $1000 today. You have to get your monies worth out it or you loose your shirt.
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