The 10 Best Network Cable Testers
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Whether you're responsible for a corporate LAN or some simple peer-to-peer connections, ensuring the integrity of your network — and particularly its cabling — is essential. This diverse assortment of testers will assist any technicians or homeowners checking for faulty lines or broken USB cables, mapping out a single copper run, or even verifying an entire fiber backbone. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 16, 2020:
My primary consideration during this update was to reorder the list to reflect a more ‘equitable’ product mix, since we had many sophisticated qualification testers on this list in here with the ranks of cheap and basic verification testers that do nothing more than indicate the presence of an performance or connectivity problem. Granted, high end options are a lot more comprehensive, but arguably they’re less in demand, as they're only used by professionals to check large networks. Hence, I’ve removed options like the NetScout 2000 LinkRunner and Fluke Microscanner 2, though I have left in the Fluke CableIQ.
High-End Qualification Testers
I’ve added special honors for new high-end qualification testers from both NetAlly – formerly known as NetScout – and Fluke, and, of course it goes without saying that both are leading companies in the development of comprehensive network testers. Resultantly, these are some of the most sophisticated, user-friendly and up-to-date models that money can buy, especially the NetAlly LinkRunner 10G.
Support for The Multi-Gig Network Generation
The Microscanner 2 we had was actually a kit, which included the SimpliFiber Pro optical power meter and other accessories, and not the basic model on its own, which is a little cheaper. I could have easily just included the standalone model here as an option in our more ‘reasonable product mix’ though, the Microscanner 2 is a little dated now, and isn’t built for the next generation of network infrastructure – multi-gig ethernet, including 2.5G and 5G, and all the way up to 10G.
Multi-gig networks using copper-based infrastructure would require at least Cat 6 cabling, which brings up another major consideration of mine during this update, which was to ensure that models could support these high speeds. With the exception of the Tripp Lite Fiber and D Yedemec Fault Locator, which have been featured primarily because of their support for optical fiber cables, all of these models should support at least Cat 6 and Cat 6a cabling.
September 06, 2019:
Among IT professionals, Fluke is generally considered to be the gold standard for diagnostics, so it's no surprise that they have a pair of models in our top three, including the model in our number one slot. A quick look at what it has to offer sets the tone for the rest of our list, with its ability to diagnose problems on both copper and fiber lines. It has a big, informative display, though some modern technicians may prefer a full color screen like the ones offered by Net Ally and T3. Often, the menus on these systems will be a little easier to navigate, potentially making them better choices for IT managers trying to train new employees, but the prices of these two in particular prevent them from being viable for homeowners setting up small networks, or for students learning the trade.
Availability concerns caused us to remove the TopOne model from our previous ranking, but we found a viable option that offers both user-friendliness and, surprisingly for its price point, a color screen. Beyond these considerations, we gave priority to testers that could offer techs a location on any given fault, to make their jobs that much easier.
Fluke DSX2-5-IE-K1 Part of the Versiv certification family, and a slight upgrade from the more dated CableIQ, this fairly comprehensive kit includes the Versiv 2 mainframe – which has a more interactive and detailed display compared to older units - and remote, as well as adapters for RJ45 and M12 connectors, with optional fiber optic modules. Offering level V accuracy requirements for Cat 6, Cat 6a or Class FA, DSX-5000 cable analyzers are built to live up to the industry’s future compliance standards. fluke.com
NetAlly LinkRunner 10G While it’s similar to the LinkRunner G2 in a variety of ways, including the fact that both use Android-based systems and can run apps to perform complete workflows, and both have Power over Ethernet validation, and impressive line-rate performance testing capabilities, the LinkRunner 10G includes a few additional capabilities not found on the G2, the most notable of which is its support for copper networks beyond 1000BASE-T all the way up to 10GbE, as well as features like path analysis, network topology mapping and web remote control. netally.com