Cable Tester and Network Probe to identify/rectify cabling faults (TRENDnet)


Whether you have a small network or a large network, crimping and installing network cables is an inevitable part of setting up and maintaining the network. Some installations (such as CCTV) requires you to install coaxial cables. As you can guess, the number of such cables going around a home/office might grow pretty quickly.

Installing cables is only a part of the process. It is important to check whether the cables have been crimped/installed correctly to ensure that the connected devices will perform well and last long. Testing cables and locating the right cable (at the remote end) is important during troubleshooting connectivity issues/maintaining a network. Also, if the wiring is going to be concealed, it is all the more important to test them to ensure that they are transmitting the signals properly.

That’s why one requires a good (basic) cable tester and network probe. The TRENDnet cable tester and network probe (given below) can test individual pin configuration/whole path at a given time.

TRENDnet Cable Tester (TC-NT2)

Highlights:

  • Tests Ethernet/Network Cables, Telephone Cables, Coaxial Cables, Token Ring/TP Cables. Can also test USB, IEEE 1394 Cables with additional adapters.
  • In-built Tone generator can work along with a network probe to trace and identify the exact location of cable fault/locate the right cable end from a bunch of cables. Tone frequency: 600-800 Hz.
  • The cable tester (TC-NT2) can test for cable continuity, open connections, shorted connections & mis-wiring (if the right wire connected to the right pin) for up to 300 meters.
  • It can check for the connectivity for the whole cable or individual pins (each cable in 4-pairs of the UTP cable can be checked individually).
  • There are two modes – Auto Scan & Manual Scan.
  • It can test grounding on shielded cables.
  • Includes carrying pouch, RJ45-BNC adapters, RJ-45 patch cable.
  • Works with 9-V DC battery.
  • 1-Year limited warranty.

Cable Tester Operation: There are two units – base unit and remote unit. You can check a patch cord by connecting both its ends in to the RJ-45 plugs of this unit. If the cable is long, one end of the RJ-45 plug can be connected to the base unit and the other end can be connected to the remote unit (which is detachable).

There are two modes – Auto mode or manual mode. If the cable is long and you have another person to coordinate with you, you can select the manual mode and select each pin/cable and test for them individually. A red LED glows on the corresponding LED lights at both ends (1,2,3…8,Ground) simultaneously to indicate proper working. In the auto mode, each cable/pin is tested one by one automatically (after short intervals) and the corresponding lights glow in both the units, simultaneously. So, at the remote end if you find lights 1,2,…8 glow simultaneously, the cable should be fine.

Rough guide to interpret test results:

  • Red light in both ends (simultaneously) for the corresponding LED’s (1,2,3…8) indicate good connection/continuity.
  • While testing the first wire (first LED on the base unit), if some other (2,3…) LED on the remote unit glows, then the pin configuration/connection has been done incorrectly.
  • If more than one light glows on the remote unit while testing one pin at the sender’s end, there is a short circuit.
  • If no light glows on the remote unit (for a certain pin connection), that pin may not be connected properly and hence there is open circuit (no connectivity).
  • Except the first case, for all the other cases you may have to recrimp the cables or re-connect the cable jack/RJ-45 plug.

You can also test RJ-11 (telephone) cables using this tool. In order to test coaxial cables, the BNC connector (included with this tester) needs to be used. In order to test USB, FireWire and other types of cables, additional adapters are required. The tester comes with the shielded connector required to test STP cables.

The included patch cord can be used for testing patch panels and wall plates. It is recommended to remove the 9V battery from the unit when it is not in use.

Where to buy: You can buy the TRENDnet cable tester (TC-NT2) online from Amazon, if you live in the US.

TRENDnet Network Probe TC-TP1

Highlights:

  • Tone tracer and line tester.
  • Push button operation to conserve battery power.
  • Built-in speaker with adjustable volume control, LED signal indications.
  • Compatible with most tone generators (including the above mentioned TRENDnet TC-NT2).
  • Earphone jack for using it without the speakers / in noisy environments.
  • Can detect both AC and DC power (up to 24 volts).
  • RJ-45 Jack, RJ-11 Jumper cable included (to test the cable’s polarity).
  • Works with 9V DC battery.
  • Replaceable tip.
  • 1-year limited warranty.

After connecting a compatible tone generator to the cable that you want to test, you can start listening to the tone using this network probe, starting from the tone generator location. To listen to the tone, either use the built-in speakers/LED indication or use the headphone jack while pointing the tip of the network probe parallel to (and near to) the cable that you want to test. You do not have to touch the cable, just hold the probe somewhere near to it and press the button in the probe to start listening.

You need to walk along the cable route holding the probe near to the cable under test. As long as you get a signal, the cable is fine and is able to carry the power. But once the signal is lost at a certain location, that location indicates the cable cut / location of the fault.

Where to buy: You can buy the TRENDnet network probe TC-TP1 online from Amazon, if you live in the US.

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