[rescue] Cable testers

Doug McIntyre merlyn at geeks.org
Wed Apr 20 23:34:22 CDT 2016

On Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 01:19:41PM -0400, Phil Stracchino wrote:
> Anyone have a preference for good but not overly expensive Ethernet
> cable testers?  I don't want to spend $500 on a high-end Fluke, but I
> don't want to spend $10 on some generic piece of crap that only tests
> continuity either.  I've never really needed one until now, but I'm
> finding cat6 to be a complete &@&#$@^#@%$R@#% to strip and terminate.

I see a disconnect with your target pricing and target testing.
Anything under $500 is going to get you basicly a continuity tester.
Pin1 is connected to pin1 on the other side, repeat across all 8 wires.
Maybe some wiremapping functions. Thats about it.

About $500-$1000 is going to get you testing where the tester can
connect into the network it is plugged in, see what your link speed
is, do DHCP and display IP info,maybe at the higher end do CDP/LLDP,
TDR functions.

To get AXTLK/FXTLK analyzer that Cat6/Cat6a cares about will be many
thousands of $$. Ie a Fluke DSX-5000 CableAnalyzer kit is $10k list.
You may be able to get previous models on eBay starting at $3k-$4k.
Ie. this is tool rental time for the occasional job.

I've found that Cat6 is fairly straight forward. Make sure your cutters
are sharp. Make sure your punch tool is sharp and steady. Use the
stabilizing pucks.  (ie.

Doing Cat6a is very fiddly. I just cringe when I see a homeshow run
Cat6a cabling, and then leave like 1.5" of untwisted cable hanging to
the breeze. You've got like 1/8" of clearance. I really like Hubbell,
but you have to tend to go to the cable distributers to get them, hardly
a web store will carry them. The cat6a layout makes working with it nice,
the cable comes right in, and lays right out to a square. Yes, they are
expensive, but so is your time.

I wouldn't bother with Cat6a except in special circumstances. Cat6
running 10Gbps typically is spec'd out to 50m.  I'd wager that could
easily get you to 80m with no problems. That should be plenty for most
installations. The only application I see cat6a for would be
datacenters that are heavy into copper instead of fiber and using
enterprise IT gear and not routers/switches, etc. (which are much more
typically fiber based gear).

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