Key Network Test Tools for Enterprise Administrators

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While troubleshooting complex or chronic network connectivity issues, network administrators require the right tools for the job. Technicians commonly use laptops and smartphones when troubleshooting on-site. While phones and PC’s are than nothing, they often don’t offer the proper level of troubleshooting visibility they need to quickly see if they’re device is properly connecting to the network. Fortunately, there network admins can utilize purpose-built network test functions built into cable certification tools such as the TestPro CV100. Let’s look at how the CV100 can help troubleshoot network connectivity issues from both a wired and wireless perspective.

BASE-T Wired Ethernet Testing Capabilities

When troubleshooting a wired Ethernet network, information on connectivity status is one of the first pieces of information a network technician looks for. Within the BASE-T Device Information section of the TestPro, you can quickly see network connectivity speed and duplex status. Admins have the choice of statically assigning speed/duplex — or simply use auto negotiation feature between the TestPro and the switch. Once successfully connected, troubleshooters can also verify important network details such as IP address, subnet mask, default gateway and DNS/DHCP information as shown here:

Another useful feature is to have a tool that can quickly scan and identify other devices on the network. For example, the TestPro CV100 will discover and identify all devices transmitting and receiving data on a network. The TestPro will then intelligently categorize devices depending on whether they are end stations, local/remote servers and switch/router networking equipment. It can also discover any other TestPro’s connected to the network.

Even more useful is that you can drill down into each category down to the device level to see specific device details including IP address, MAC address, Device manufacturer/model, OS/firmware type and version and the number of hops away from your TestPro handheld. In this example, we can see the TestPro automatically identified a Cisco 3750-X series switch:

Ping is easily one of the most useful troubleshooting utility tools in a network administrator’s toolbox. The TestPro gives admin’s the perfect amount of flexibility when it comes to rapidly troubleshooting connectivity issues. These include the ability to:

  • Choosing to ping built-in Internet-based target devices — or manually setup internal devices by IP address/domain name to ping.
  • Selecting ping options such as:
    • Packet byte length
    • Maximum number of pings per test
    • Maximum TTL
    • Ping interval time
    • Whether the packet can be fragmented or not

The results of a ping test can not only prove whether the TestPro can successfully reach a remote device on the internal network or Internet, it also provides network technicians with valuable information such as  number of errors, current ping response time and an average min and max response time for all pings run during the test.

WiFi Network Testing Capabilities

When troubleshooting WiFi, some tools are the same as wired Ethernet tests while others are different. For example, the ping test and all configurable options are useful for testing connectivity drops and latency on both wired and wireless networks. Thus, the TestPro Network Test settings have the same testing capabilities for WiFi as are found for BASE-T wired Ethernet tests. However, other WiFi tests often revolve around the identification of wireless interference, signal strength – and ultimately – locations where wireless connectivity is poor. The built-in wireless adapter of the TestPro can quickly scan the wireless network to identify broadcasted wireless SSID’s and their respective signal strengths. A network admin troubleshooting wireless connectivity issues can easily walk around with a CV100 handheld and verify signal strength throughout a building, campus, warehouse or other area where WiFi has been deployed. Here’s an example of a TestPro that has identified multiple SSID’s along with signal strength readings in dBM:

Finally, one key component of testing a wireless network is to verify that not only does a wireless endpoint properly connect and can ping, but also whether signal strength is strong enough to send data in an appropriate amount of time. Thus, the TestPro includes the ability to run upload tests for 1, 10 and 20 Mbps files to the location of your choice – either internal or external. By default, the TestPro is preconfigured with a testing location provided by AEM.

More than Just a Cable Troubleshooting Tool

While most customers purchase cable testers for the sole purpose of copper and fiber certification, some tools such as the TestPro CV100 can do much more. Wired and WiFi test features ensure that network administrators can get the most out of their investment. It’s a tool that technicians will find valuable when troubleshooting connectivity issues throughout enterprise networks both small and large.

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