Ive been using Fluke Networks EtherScope Network Assistant to troubleshoot my test networks. As handy as the device is at helping diagnose network errors, discovering routers and switches, and identifying hosts, the EtherScope still has room for improvement. The $5,495 EtherScope includes a PCMCIA slot, a Compact Flash slot and a 64MB CF card, a wire-mapping device, and a removable lithium-ion battery.
Although the EtherScope can be a little sluggish when pulling up different screens to examine detailed reports, the base interface is well-designed, providing summary information to the left of the main console screen.
When I updated the device with the latest software, Version 1.3.8, which was released last month, the software update feature left me flat. I had to download an application to a Windows-based host, which gathers the update from Flukes FTP servers and unpacks the update to a CF card. I then installed the update card in the EtherScope, so the update could proceed at the next reboot.
Id prefer the ability to directly install the update from the Internet using the integrated Konqueror Web browser. Fluke officials said this feature will be available this year. More information is at www.flukenetworks.com.
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