LAN/WAN tools and 10G

TWXTWX Posts: 275Member ■■■□□□□□□□
We're at something of a crossroads, we migrated from the Fluke Nettool 10/100 a few years ago to the Fluke LinkRunner AT2000 for cable/infrastructure, the LinkRunner AT1000 for a couple of technicians handing phones and other special stuff with no fiber test needs, and to the Fluke LinkSprinter for PC desktop technicians.

Going from the Nettool 10/100 to the LinkRunner AT models gave us some additional functionality but took away some as well. We gained Gigabit speed, the ability to use the tool as a tone generator, PoE testing, better identification of Voice VLAN on access ports, better access to CDP information, and on the AT2000 models, fiber link testing. We lost in-line testing, and as the LinkRunner AT line is physically a lot larger, it takes up a lot more room in the tool bag.

The desktop techs that ended up with the LinkSprinters don't use them very often. To use it correctly one must connect a phone or computer via its WIFI access point, navigate a browser to a specific IP, and then use that browser to view or perform advanced tests. Compared to the Nettool 10/100, when used with the phone or PC the LinkSprinter does better CDP identifying, better Voice VLAN identifying, basic PoE testing, and can ping network resources more easily, but it does not even do wiremap testing, let alone in-line testing or tone generation, nor can it identify if there's powered-down equipment at the other end of the cable, so the tech can't tell if the drop is unpatched in the closet or if the port on the switch is shut down, or if there's a cable fault causing the switch to not bring up the port.

Now we're heading towards widespread deployment of 10G over singlemode fiber, so increasingly there'll be a need to test 10G-LR and occasionally 10G-SR on multimode in the datacenter, and possibly even 10GbaseT copper in the datacenter. I looked at Fluke's offerings for 10G, and honestly I'm not impressed. The OneTouch AT capable of 10G is HUGE and takes away tone generation over copper, takes away loopback testing of copper cables, and unlike its 1G cousin doesn't do in-line testing for copper or fiber and lacks WIFI capability. Worse, the Optiview XG is MASSIVE, even bigger than the OneTouch AT. I already have enough crap to carry around.

Anyone seen test tools from other manufacturers that do 10G that they like better than Fluke's offerings? These things are expensive enough that I'd really hate to buy the wrong thing. If they'd just make a 10G version of the LinkRunner AT2000 I'd be thrilled, but that unfortunately doesn't look like it's in the cards.


  • Hatch1921Hatch1921 Posts: 257Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I haven't used Fluke for anything...

    We have two new Exfos and they do 10G. Easy to use menu system and the touch screen/cpu is fast.

    I will have to check on the model number... we've only had them about a month.

    Field Network Testing | Products | EXFO

  • TWXTWX Posts: 275Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've spent quite a bit more time looking at Fluke Network's products, and I've found a glaring hole in how they describe their test tools if I'm reading between the lines correctly.

    Under their cabling certification areas, basically for installers, they have a tool that looks similar to the OneTouch AT, the DSX-5000. They refer to part of the tool as Versiv, and there's some mention of modules. In the OneTouch AT area there's mention of a 10G part ending in "MOD" that talks about being a module.

    It looks like what they're not explicitly stating is that the display and battery portion is "Versiv", and that every feature, be it copper certification, fiber certification, 10/100/1000 fiber/copper testing, or 1000/10G fiber/copper testing, is achieved through changing out the module on the back of the Versiv frame. Despite this, they do not discuss the option of purchasing one Versiv frame and numerous modules and frames- they seem to want one to repurchase the frame in many cases.

    This layout and method of describing the products is a huge pain in the butt. The very strength of such a modular tool is the ability to have only one display/frame/battery that could accept a large range of modules, such that the technician can optimize the kit for the environment in which he works. Not advertising the thing this way is just stupid.
  • thomas_thomas_ CompTIA N+/S+/L+; CCNA R&S; CCNP R&S Posts: 912Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Unfortunately, I don't have any answers or recommendations to your original question of tools that do 10G. However, under the topics of network tools I do have two things to mention.


    NetPi - Raspberry Pi Network Analyzer - Blame The Network

    I thought this was pretty cool that a guy took the time to try and build his own network analyzer.

    RedPark Lightning Ethernet cable

    Lightning Ethernet Cable for iOS, iPad and iPhone

    I thought it would be interesting if someone used their SDK to develop an app where you could plug your iphone with this cable into a jack and be able to read CDP information instead of lugging around a network analyzer, a laptop with Wireshark or the above NetPi.

    It would be really cool if the companies that manufactured the networking tools made hardware add ons that could just plug into a smart phone. Most of us carry around a smartphone that costs $700 that has a CPU, display, and a battery in it. What's the point in making equipment that has its own CPU display and battery? It could potentially make toolkits a lot smaller.

    I'm sure that wouldn't be possible with certifiers, but for general diagnostic and troubleshooting tools I don't see why it wouldn't be possible.
  • BlameTheNetworkBlameTheNetwork Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□

    Thanks for coming across the NetPi and for your kind words (Traceback notified me since you linked to it). I agree with you, it would be much more beneficial to be able to pull networking diagnostics from an app than using third party hardware. I'll look into android SDK's regarding tying into a third party ethernet adapter and see if I can come up with anything as well.

    I am planning on a revamp of the NetPi to increase functionality, and possibly place it on the new slim profile Pi Zero. However I just signed on with a rather large tech company and have to be mindful of intellectual property laws that are now governing me during my employment... as I'm not sure any additional contributions to the project or allowed for now, or if they would just become the works of my employer.

    Either way, look forward to updates....... at some point.

  • BlameTheNetworkBlameTheNetwork Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    To add one bit to the discussion, at my last place of work we had previously used NetTool 10/100's and moved to AT's much like TWX reported. The functionality was improved a bit, but for what we needed out of it (CDP, or is it tripped) it's relatively a similar device. We also picked up a fluke fiber OTDR tester (the modular one that I don't remember the model of) and honestly though it didn't get much use it was very neat. There was a camera attachment via USB to look microscopically at the fiber end to check for dust/dirt/scratches.

    Anyway, as you can gather I haven't been too impressed with the commercial models outside of getting the job done, thus the NetPi was born. I'm intrigued by your android/ios app idea... but I covered that in the previous reply.

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