New Network Testing Toolset

Fluke Networks expands its product portfolio to include affordable hand-held testers with automated reporting through a centralized cloud service.

Fluke Networks, a provider of network performance monitoring and diagnostics tools, this month announced Link-Solutions, an end-to-end connectivity toolset for testing copper, fiber and Ethernet across the IT enterprise and the factory floor.

Based on Fluke Networks’ existing LinkRunner and LinkSprinter hand-held testers, the new Link-Solutions adds a low-cost tool for remote locations which may be used by inexperienced technicians for the same kind of advanced network troubleshooting. Now, the product portfolio scales based on the user’s network sophistication and skill level providing greater productivity in the field.

In addition, all of the handheld testers connect to a centralized cloud-based dashboard that provides complete job management, visibility, and diagnostics.

Link-Solutions includes three products that work together, including:

LinkRunner AT Network Tester - A complete copper and fiber optic network testing solution, including network connectivity at 10M/100M/1G, link status verification, Power over Ethernet (PoE) loading, connectivity type and signal strength. LinkRunner also features a one-button AutoTest, which performs a complete set of network connectivity tests for both copper and fiber, and quickly shows the results.

LinkSprinter family of pocket-sized network testers - In addition to the existing Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Gateway and Internet connection confirmations offered by LinkSprinter 100 and 200, Fluke Networks introduced a new model, the LinkSprinter 300, which measures cable status and length, and can also flash the hub port. One new feature common to both the LinkSprinter and LinkRunner AT devices is buffer size, which has increased to accommodate data from up to 10 test results, rather than the previous maximum of four. Pricing for the handheld testers starts at $199 (USD).

Link-Live Cloud Service - Tying together the test results from both the LinkRunner AT and LinkSprinter, this cloud service offers a unified view of all test results for a project in a single interface. Link-Live Cloud Service comes in two subscription levels to suit the specific needs of each organization─ a free “Essentials” service that comes standard with all LinkRunner AT and LinkSprinter tools, and a new “JobPro” service, which offers an expanded feature set, including reporting and analytics, detailed documentation, and project management, for a subscription fee. The annual fee for the Job Pro service starts at $48 per year (USD) and includes unlimited testing and support for up to 10 testers.

The additional products and services cater to the “uncarpeted” Ethernet areas—being the factory floor—as manufacturers build out a new infrastructure, or send out first responders to the field to fix a network problem.

“Typically, a first responder is flying blind,” says James Kahkoska, Fluke Networks’ CTO of portable testers. The hand-held devices provide auto testing and even test reports that can be emailed to the user’s phone within seconds. “We give them something that is rugged, affordable, and unintimidating.”

The cloud service runs on an intuitive interface that can be accessed from any smart device or computer, allowing users to review, edit and annotate LinkSprinter and LinkRunner AT results in just a few seconds.

Ultimately, Link-Solutions provides a way for front-line technicians, field-managed IT teams, system integrators and VARs to conduct copper, fiber and Ethernet tests and then manage their test results—regardless of which testers they used—via a unified cloud-based dashboard.

“Link-Solutions addresses multiple issues,” says Daryle DeBalski, vice president and general manager of the Enterprise business unit for Fluke Networks. “Whether it’s simply providing a tester priced low enough so every team member can have their own tester, or matching testers to the skill level of each user, Link-Solutions brings unmatched adaptability and affordability to test results management.”

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