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Industrial Ethernet tester spots causes of network failures

20 June, 2023

Fluke Networks has launched an industrial Ethernet tester designed to verify cable performance up to 10Gb/s and to help discover the causes of network failures. The LinkIQ Cable+Network Industrial Ethernet Tester (LinkIQ-IE) can identify connected switches, port and VLAN data, run targeted “ping” tests, and confirm the presence and capacity of available PoE (Power over Ethernet) sources.

Around 70% of all new factory automation nodes now use industrial Ethernet. According to Fluke, many industrial Ethernet service calls result from cable-related issues, and installation technicians must be able to verify cabling performance to ensure network performance, and to ensure that traffic can reach its destination.

“Troubleshooting industrial Ethernet problems often involves the use of complex tools such as protocol analysers or trial-and-error approaches such as running bypass cable in the hope of solving the problem,” explains Fluke’s training manager, Robert Luijten. “We designed the LinkIQ-IE to provide answers to key troubleshooting questions in seconds through an easy-to-use gesture-based interface – at a price that puts it within the reach of factory maintenance teams.”

The instrument has a single test function and displays results automatically on a colour touchscreen, based on what it is connected to. It comes with adapters for most common industrial Ethernet connectors.

The tester’s functions include:
Network testing Users can verify connections and response times for network devices with one touch of the screen. The instrument can be configured to perform IPv4 or v6 ping tests and will display the response time for four pings to a target device chosen by the user. The results show the DNS and DHCP servers and the gateway router, as well as the IP address of the nearest switch.
Two-pair cable tests Cable performance up to 100Mb/s can be tested for two-pair cables.
Open cable attached Wire maps and the lengths of each pair is displayed.
Remote ID attached to cable end Performance up to 10Gb/s is shown.
Cables connected to a switch port The LinkIQ-IE will show the name of the switch plus the VLAN, port name, speed, and duplex.

In PoE applications, the instrument can show the power and class (up to 90W or Class 8) and load the switch to verify that the power can be delivered.

Fluke Networks’ industrial Ethernet tester helps to discover the causes of network failures

Up to six extra remote ID devices can be connected to patch panels, with the tester displaying the remote ID number, making it easy for technicians to determine where a link is going.

A new version of Fluke’s LinkWare PC software can generate reports including the expanded network testing, allowing users to document their work.

Jaap Westeneng, product manager for asset and inventory management at the instrumentation specialist Endress+Hauser, says that the new instrument “fulfils a need for data communications troubleshooting and is the ideal tool for maintenance engineers to eliminate cabling issues quickly. It can also give you an indication of the transmission speed the cable is capable of handling, which differentiates the LinkIQ from other twisted-pair testers. It is intuitive and easy to use and responsive.”

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