Network cabling directly affects your business’s connectivity. When a network lags, corrupts, or fails, your enterprise loses money. When designing, installing, and maintaining your network, you should regularly test your network cable for vulnerabilities and potential threats. To do this, you’ll need a network cable tester.
To evaluate your cable’s performance, you need to know what time of cable tester you will need. Network cable testers are very specific to the function you want to test and the type of network wire you have. To help you figure out what kind of cable tester to buy, we’ve put together a complete buyer’s guide to network cable testers.
Why Are Network Cable Testers Essential?
There are three leading causes for data loss, weakening, or corruption:
- Attenuation: Attenuation is the weakening or loss of signal. Attenuation is caused by long cable length, increasing frequency, or higher temperatures.
- Noise: Noise occurs when an electric signal interferes with a sender’s signal. Noise can come from internal and external sources. External noise can come from many sources, so your network cable should be installed separate from anything that could amplify the noise.
- Delays: Delays in the electrical signal can be triggered from a host of factors such as the cable is too long, bandwidth is too narrow, or high latency.
To prevent your network from weakening, you should regularly test your network for lag, noise, and attenuation.
Related Link: Data Center Planning and Implementation
What to Look for When Buying a Network Cable Tester
Before purchasing a network cable tester, you need to determine what type of cable tester you need. Here are the different criteria you should use to evaluate cable testers:
Types of Network Cable Testers
You’ll need a network cable tester that works with the complexity of your network. There are three main types of network cable testers.
A verification network cable tester can determine if the cable is connected correctly. More commonly used by contractors and network technicians, verification testers are the first step when troubleshooting your network.
A qualification network cable tester has a more sophisticated design to determine if your network cable can support your network’s technology requirements, such as VoIP, Gigabit Ethernet, or 100BASE-TX. Network technicians primarily use qualification testers to evaluate or troubleshoot the cable’s bandwidth.
A certification network cable tester determines if your network cable complies with cabling standards. Cabling manufacturers require commercial datacom installers to use certification testers to validate that the cable meets cabling requirements and the manufacturer’s warranty.
Do you need help designing your network? Learn more about C&C Technology Group’s approach to custom-designed cabling solutions.
Related Link: Tech Tips
Design and Build
Network cable testers generally come in one of two model types:
- Portable Handheld Cable Tester: These testers are a single tool with a battery compartment for convenient portability, operability, and maneuverability.
- Detachable Modular Unit Cable Tester: This is a more substantial tester where one or more components can detach from the main tester. These types of testers are common for high-powered models because they have more features than the handheld testers.
Other important design features you may want to consider:
- Water-resistant: for outdoor or humid environments
- Includes a strap: keeps the tester from falling when not in use.
Length of Ethernet Cable
Because the length of your Ethernet cable directly correlates to the cable’s intrinsic resistance value and its DTR, your network cable tester must have enough voltage to test the length of the cable.
Most cable testers detail the maximum length of cable they can measure at varying voltages. You’ll want to verify your network cable length before purchasing a cable tester to ensure your cable tester can accurately evaluate your network.
All Ethernet cable has connectors on either end, allowing you to connect networking hardware and other computing devices. You need to verify what type of connectors your cable has so that you can find a compatible tester that can connect to the cable port.
The network cable tester should support standard cable connectors:
- Registered Jack 45 (RJ45): The Rj45 is the most common connector and used by most Ethernet cables up to a Cat 6 cable.
- GigaGate45 (GG45): The GigaGate45 is a specialized version of an RJ45 for Cat 7 cables.
- Eight positions, eight contacts (8P8C): the 8P8C is a special crimping tool to allow individual cable wires to be inserted into each of the eight pins on an RJ45 connector.
- Coax (coaxial) connectors: Coax connectors connect the cable to other devices and shield the cable.
- SC/SFP: SC/SFP are specific connectors for fiber optic cables.
WiFi Testing Support
Most networks include routers and WiFi modems to expand connectivity to the network. A WiFi modem broadcasts the network signal using cellular networks to provide wireless connection. If you want to test your WiFi network, you’ll need to pick a higher quality cable tester with WiFi capability.
You may want to look for cable testers with a manufacturer’s warranty in case of factory defects. Most high-quality testers and enterprise-level network cable testers come with a warranty to protect against malfunctions.
Identify Your Network Cable Requirements Before You Buy a Network Cable Tester
By examining your network cable, including determining your cable lengths and connectors, you can narrow down what type of network cable tester that your network needs. You’ll also want to take into account what kind of testing you need to do and whether the testing needs to support WiFi connectivity.
By narrowing your criteria, you’ll be able to determine which network cable tester you will need. C&C Technology Group specializes in technology integration and can help you assess your network for better connectivity. Our enterprise IT infrastructure team can design or troubleshoot your network to create a better networking solution.
Do you need help troubleshooting or design your data center infrastructure? Contact C&C Technology Group for a consultation.
Related Link: Legrand’s IoT Application Guide