by August 2, 2008 0 comments

It’s a handy device to troubleshoot your network. The troubleshooter comes
with a hefty price but if you have a complicated and troublesome network then
this can help you to a great extent. EtherScope II from Fluke networks has a
RJ45 LAN port which can support Gbps networks and a Fiber Optic 1000 Base-X
port. For WiFi, the PCMCIA slot of the device was housed with a specialized
Wi-Fi card that can support a, b and g networks. The card also has an additional
port to connect a bi-directional antenna to it. It also has a com port for
getting terminal access to the device.

The interface for this device is a touch screen which is pretty tough and can
withstand shocks and falls. The device when connected to a network lets you
access its interface over a Web browser. The device is lightweight with only
1.15Kg. This makes it comfortable to carry around and use it anywhere on your

The software which powers the device is essentially a customized Linux core
with some standard tools such as a Web browser, a file manager, Calendar, etc
and not to forget the key thing -EtherScope Network Assistant application for
LAN and WLAN. This is what does the magic.

Price: Rs 3 to 6 Lakhs depending on features
(1 year warranty)
Meant For: Admins of large networks
Key Specs: LCD touch screen,1 USB, 1 PCMCIA/Cardbus (PC Card
type II), Fiber Port
Pros: Trace switch route, Signal and cable Verification, WAN
Client identification
Cons: None
Contact: Fluke SE Asia, Bangalore,
Phone: 40322000

SMS Buy 130890 to 56677

LAN Network Assistant
This application is essentially a packet capturing, logging and reporting
application which can search devices, find the amount of traffic transfered
between devices and report in case of network problems. But that’s not the great
thing about it. There is a lot more. For instance, if you try to search a class
B network for active devices using a PC based scanner, the process will at least
take 15 – 20 minutes depending on the type of processor you are using.

This device when connected to a Class B network easily detected the active
devices in less than 2 minutes. And that’s not all, the device was also able to
detect other devices which are on some other subnet and showed them through a
warning message.

One of the other features is its capability to detect and tell the distance
(the cable length) from these devices to the next connected node. Which means
you can just connect it to any cable whose other end is terminated to any
network device.

It will tell you the length of the wire between these two spots. Other great
feature of the devices is its capability to trace the switch route to any
machine. Let’s say you have a faulty machine in your network somewhere in the
building and you want to find exactly where the machine is, this device can tell
you the route through the switches (managed switches) and its ports. For
example, there are five switches between this device and the faulty machine,
then it will detect all the five switches and their respective port numbers from
where the connection is happening.

This is a great feature because one of the biggest challenges for a network
admin is to figure out and pinpoint the devices in a huge campus with lots of
cascaded switches.

Some other common features include packet generation, link test, logging,
listing top talkers, protocol wise and device wise reporting, RFC 2544 tests for
latency and data loss, VLAN detection, etc.

WLAN Network Assistant
The basic features are more or less similar. The special features are; the
security scan option which will tell you at a glance devices (clients and APs)
that are unauthorized, site survey option which lets you find out the noise
level in different channels in different zones. With the help of this you can
choose the channel for your AP with minimum noise so that you can get the best
performance. You can even see the noise vs signal strength for all your APs.

Other great feature is the identification of wireless devices in the network.
Similar to what we did in LAN, we can pinpoint a device in the network. But
here, the technology is completely different. As there are no ports or switches
to connect all the devices to, the location identification is done using the bi
directional antenna and finding out the direction from where the signal of a
specific device is coming. It’s more of a manual task to search and follow the
signal strength but still it’s an effective way to find out and pinpoint
wireless devices, which is otherwise near to impossible.

The price of this device varies between Rs 3 to 6 lakhs depending on the
components and functionality. The model which we received is a full blown model
with all features and costs six lakhs.

Bottomline: It’s a great device given the unique features, such as
RJ45 LAN port which can support Gbps networks, a Fiber Optic 1000 Base-X port
etc. However, it’s too costly.

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