It is important to test the cables before you install them and after they are installed. Although there are many tools that are used for testing the cables in a network this paper is only going to talk about three. The first one is the multifunction cable scanner, they are available for testing both copper and fiber optic cable. One such model is the Hobbes 258898 it can test every pin of almost 20 often used cables from coax to 40 pin ribbon cables. It identifies opens, shorts and mis-wires at the pin level. With a multifunction cable tester you can perform a range of tests that you would normally need a few different testers to do. You can do wire-mapping, test for the length of the cable, test the attenuation, and you can test NEXT (near end crosstalk) for copper cables. They will also test for optical power and signal loss in fiber optic cables. A lot of the multifunction cable testers perform other more comprehensive test such as PS-NEXT, ACRF, PS-ACRF, delay skew, propagation skew, and return loss. The biggest advantage to them is that anyone can use one all you have to do is hook it up and press a button. The biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage if you don’t know the specifications of the cables you are installing. Unless you buy one that is configurable so that you can set it to the specifications that you need.
The second tool is the Wire map tester. Wire mapping tools send signals through each wire in twisted pair cables and check to see if they are connected to the correct pins on each side. They are the most basic of the cable testing tools but are necessary to use because the most common cause of installation errors is not connecting the wires to the pins correctly. Wire mapping tools can detect broken or unconnected wires along with shorts in the wires all of which can make a wire not work. They are almost always part of multifunction cable testers but it is not always necessary to spend more money than you need to in order to perform this simple task.
The third type of tool is a tone generator they are used to figure out which cable is which when you have multiple cables in one area not yet connected. A tone generator sends a signal done the cable you use the probe that when it is touched to the correct wire will emit a tone that lets you know you have the right one. A tone generator will allow you to find shorts in the wires, mis-wiring and open wires. They are very time consuming to use and it is easier and faster to use a wire mapping tool rather than a tone generator.
I believe that every installation kit should include a wire mapping tool and a multifunctioning tool. The reason is simple the multifunctioning tool can test for just about everything you need to test for concerning copper and fiber optic cable installation. The wire mapping tool though can be used for when you are just installing cables for voice communications, or if you have multiple people on a job they can both be using a tool at the same time.
TEST-i – Multi Function Cable Tester (PC Cable Tester). (n.d.). – 258898, $249.99. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from http://sewelldirect.com/TEST-i-Multi-Function-Cable-Tester-PC-Cable-Tester.asp Tone generators and probes— simple yet essential tools in your kit – Cabling Install. (n.d.). Tone generators and probes— simple yet essential tools in your kit – Cabling Install. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from http://www.cablinginstall.com/articles/print/volume-10/issue-12/products-services/product-update/tone-generators-and-probesmdash-simple-yet-essential-tools-in-your-kit.html Wiring Tools Wire Crimper Map Testers Cable Testers Tone Generator firewall proxy | Network Media and Topologies | Comptia N+ Study Guide | Comptia. (n.d.). Wiring Tools Wire Crimper Map Testers Cable Testers Tone Generator firewall proxy | Network Media and Topologies | Comptia N+ Study Guide | Comptia. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from http://computernetworkingnotes.com/network-media-and-topologies/cable-wire-tools.html