Fluke Networks last month introduced the LinkRunner Network Multimeter, a handheld tester that Ive used several times in setting up network tests. Its ease of use belies the things you can test for, making it a good choice for inexperienced front-line technicians who are the first responders to connectivity calls. In addition, at $495, the LinkRunner is the least expensive Fluke Networks device Ive seen.
I connected the LinkRunner with a patch cable to a network jack and could determine, among other things, if the Labs network was using DHCP; what kind of cable was in use (straight through or crossover); and if the cable had any shorts, opens or split pairs. I could also gauge network utilization with the tool.
Ive used the LinkRunner to ping devices on the network, and the device has a handy feature that let me store a couple of frequently used IP addresses. I used this feature to store the Labs default gateway and DNS address, thus speeding up tests that determined if the cable was even connected to the right network.
The LinkRunner should be a useful tool for front-line techs who are involved in setting up new offices because it offers a quick, accurate assessment of the network characteristics of the network from the office jack, thereby reducing the amount of time needed to check wiring closets or the need to tie up senior network staff with basic patch and cable problems.
For more information, go to www.flukenetworks.com.