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uk.comp.home-networking (UK home networking) (uk.comp.home-networking) Discussion of all aspects of computer networking in the home, regardless of the platforms, software, topologies and protocols used. Examples of topics include recommendations for hardware or suppliers (e.g. NICs and cabling), protocols, servers, and specific network software. Advertising is not allowed.

cable tester



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 12th 04, 05:33 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Brett
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 6
Default cable tester

Hi Folks,

I'm looking for a good reliable network cable tester.
Can't seem to find any reviews.
Any sugestions?
Anything from enthusiast to pro would be helpful.
What is your favorit.

Thanks

Brett
  #2  
Old August 13th 04, 08:36 AM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Glyn Grinstead
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default cable tester

On 2004-08-12, Brett wrote:
I'm looking for a good reliable network cable tester.
Can't seem to find any reviews.
Any sugestions?
Anything from enthusiast to pro would be helpful.
What is your favorit.


It depends on what you're looking for. Prices range from under a fiver
(constantly running "buy it now" deals on ebay) to many thousands of
pounds.

Until you get to the several hundred pound bracket then they will all do
roughly the same thing - tell you which wires are connected at both ends.
My advice here is to go for the cheapest you can find unless you'll be
using it a lot (and then be selective). Some of the more expensive (50 to
100 pound range) testers are actually less useful than the cheaper ones.

The very cheap testers tend to simply have a battery and a bunch of LEDs
at both ends with the cable being tested in the middle. The battery is
connected to each wire in turn, you watch the LEDs, and by seeing which
LED lights up at each end you can see where each wire is connected to.
Brutal, simple, and works fine. These are harder to use when testing long
runs of installed cable, but they normally have an auto-scan function to
do this (but if you're planning on testing a lot of installed cable or
wiring your house up then I'd go for another type).

The slightly more expensive testers can try to be too clever for their own
good. To try to take the hard work out of telling whether a cable is
straight through or a crossover some of them hide some information from
you. Unfortunately, they often hide too much information and then often
get it wrong as well. There are at least three commonly used wiring
formats for crossover cables (all of which work fine) but I have yet to
see a cable tester that correctly identifies all of them. I have also seen
expensive - ~80 pounds - that identified all non-straight through cables
as "non-parallel", thus lumping Cisco rolled cables and crossovers
together.

If you want something a bit more advanced than the ebay-specials, but
can't afford a true cable certifier, then I'd recommend the Peak
Electronic AtlasIT. This uses a clear LCD display to show exactly what
line is connected to what, including shorts.
http://www.peakelec.co.uk/atlasit.htm
(no connection, just a satisfied customer).

Beyond that, you're into the true professional range. I have an elderly
10baseT tester (again, courtesy of ebay :-) which, while clunky and
temperamental, is useful for identifying split pairs, cable length,
crosstalk (only in the 10baseT range) and the like, all of which are
missed by simple tester. I still use the AtlasIT for day to day use
though for it's simplicity of operation.

An up to dater tester capable of certifying cable to CAT5e or beyond is a
serious piece of kit and usually only used by professional cable installers
- and is appropriately expensive. For most uses you can make do without
knowing the line attenuation and save a few thousand pounds :-)

Glyn.
  #3  
Old August 14th 04, 09:06 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Brett
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 6
Default cable tester

Glyn Grinstead wrote in message ...
On 2004-08-12, Brett wrote:
I'm looking for a good reliable network cable tester.
Can't seem to find any reviews.
Any sugestions?
Anything from enthusiast to pro would be helpful.
What is your favorit.


It depends on what you're looking for. Prices range from under a fiver
(constantly running "buy it now" deals on ebay) to many thousands of
pounds.

Until you get to the several hundred pound bracket then they will all do
roughly the same thing - tell you which wires are connected at both ends.
My advice here is to go for the cheapest you can find unless you'll be
using it a lot (and then be selective). Some of the more expensive (50 to
100 pound range) testers are actually less useful than the cheaper ones.

The very cheap testers tend to simply have a battery and a bunch of LEDs
at both ends with the cable being tested in the middle. The battery is
connected to each wire in turn, you watch the LEDs, and by seeing which
LED lights up at each end you can see where each wire is connected to.
Brutal, simple, and works fine. These are harder to use when testing long
runs of installed cable, but they normally have an auto-scan function to
do this (but if you're planning on testing a lot of installed cable or
wiring your house up then I'd go for another type).

The slightly more expensive testers can try to be too clever for their own
good. To try to take the hard work out of telling whether a cable is
straight through or a crossover some of them hide some information from
you. Unfortunately, they often hide too much information and then often
get it wrong as well. There are at least three commonly used wiring
formats for crossover cables (all of which work fine) but I have yet to
see a cable tester that correctly identifies all of them. I have also seen
expensive - ~80 pounds - that identified all non-straight through cables
as "non-parallel", thus lumping Cisco rolled cables and crossovers
together.

If you want something a bit more advanced than the ebay-specials, but
can't afford a true cable certifier, then I'd recommend the Peak
Electronic AtlasIT. This uses a clear LCD display to show exactly what
line is connected to what, including shorts.
http://www.peakelec.co.uk/atlasit.htm
(no connection, just a satisfied customer).

Beyond that, you're into the true professional range. I have an elderly
10baseT tester (again, courtesy of ebay :-) which, while clunky and
temperamental, is useful for identifying split pairs, cable length,
crosstalk (only in the 10baseT range) and the like, all of which are
missed by simple tester. I still use the AtlasIT for day to day use
though for it's simplicity of operation.

An up to dater tester capable of certifying cable to CAT5e or beyond is a
serious piece of kit and usually only used by professional cable installers
- and is appropriately expensive. For most uses you can make do without
knowing the line attenuation and save a few thousand pounds :-)

Glyn.



Thanks Glyn,
I read about the AtlasIT, but without reviews i was a little unsure.

Thank you

Brett
 




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