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How does a Portable Network Analyzer work?

For network engineers, keeping a network running smoothly is no easy task. There are many factors that can impact network performance, from physical components like cables and switches to software issues and user behavior. That’s where portable network analyzers come in – they’re powerful tools that help us analyze and optimize network performance. In this blog, we’ll explore how portable network analyzers work and why they’re useful.

What is a Portable Network Analyzer?

At its core, a portable network analyzer is a device that allows you to measure and analyze network performance. It can be used standalone or in conjunction with an existing performance monitoring solution that may already be installed in the data center or large branch network. A portable analyzer is ideal at the network edge, small branch, or other remote location (though it can be helpful anywhere on the network). Here, instrumentation from centralized solutions may not exist so network visibility is limited or restricted. Their small size, all-in-one functionality means they can easily plugin anywhere confirming network health or assist with investigation and resolution of known issues regaining awareness that might otherwise be available at the network peripheral.

Portable analyzers can actively test by injecting a known signal into a network and measure the response (e.g., Ping, iPerf), providing information about the network’s behavior and overall performance health. Moreover, portable analyzers can capture existing network traffic for analysis to find the root cause of an issue.

NetAlly’s EtherScope nXG Portable Network Expert is a great example of a full featured, handheld network analyzer that provides engineers and technicians with a multi-technology, all-in-one solution for testing, verifying, and troubleshooting WiFi and Ethernet access networks.

The EtherScope nXG is equipped with native WiFi network interfaces, Ethernet ports, and a built-in Bluetooth radio, enabling connectivity and supporting full spectrum analysis. AutoTest profiles are also available, which have pass/fail thresholds for quick assessment of network configurations and services for both WiFi and wired networks. Multiple profiles can be created for complex networks that have multiple VLANs and WiFi SSIDs, and profile groups execute each test against each profile in sequence. Moreover, the device can remotely troubleshoot and collaborate with on-site technicians, saving travel time and costs, consolidate and analyze field test data, and integrate with network management systems through the Link-Live Cloud Service. By utilizing the EtherScope nXG, you can also conduct copper/fiber wired and WiFi tests. Request a free virtual demo to find out more about our EtherScope nXG Portable Network Expert.

How does a Portable Network Analyzer measure the network?

Let’s take a closer look at how a portable network analyzer works. First, the analyzer injects a known signal into the network – this is known as the stimulus signal. The tool then measures the response signal, which is the signal that results from the stimulus signal interacting with the network. By comparing the stimulus signal to the response signal, the analyzer can provide information about the network’s behavior.

There are many different WiFi parameters that a network analyzer can measure, such as attenuation, channel interference, reflection, and transmission. Attenuation refers to the loss of signal strength as it travels through the air. Reflection occurs when a signal encounters an impedance mismatch, causing some of the signal to bounce back towards the source. Transmission refers to the ability of a network to pass a signal from one point to another.

Why use a Portable Network Analyzer?

So, why would you want to use a network analyzer? There are several reasons why ethernet port testers or WiFi network monitoring tools are valuable for network engineers. Let’s explore a few of them:

  1. Troubleshooting: When network issues arise, a network monitoring tool can be valuable for troubleshooting. By analyzing the behavior of the network, you can identify areas where performance is poor and make changes accordingly. For example, if you’re experiencing slow network speeds, a network analyzer can help you identify where the bottleneck is occurring and make changes to alleviate the problem.
  2. Testing network components: Network diagnostics tools can be used to test a wide range of network components, such as cables, switches, and routers. By measuring the performance of these components, you can identify potential issues before they become major problems.
  3. Optimizing network performance: By analyzing the behavior of the network, you can identify areas where performance can be improved and make changes accordingly. This can help you optimize the network’s performance and keep it running smoothly.

Using the portable network analyzer EtherScope nXG has the following advantages:

  • Accurate measurements: Network analyzers provide accurate measurements of network performance.
  • Visibility: Providing instant visibility and drill downs into the issue for fast and efficient problem solving.
  • Mobility: The EtherScope nXG is designed to be lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry with you wherever you go. Perfect for flexible problem solving.
  • Collaborative: No matter where you or your staff are located, our platforms offer seamless collaboration, so no one has to travel.
  • Versatility: Network diagnostics tools can be used to test a wide range of network components, making them a valuable tool for any network engineer.
  • Simplicity: With our AutoTest, you can run dozens of tests in 30 seconds to locate the issue. Anyone can, regardless of their skillset. Watch our free virtual demo to find out how to use the portable network analyzer.

In conclusion, network analyzers are powerful tools for analyzing and optimizing network performance. By injecting a known signal into a network and measuring the response, network engineers can identify areas where performance can be improved and make changes accordingly. A network analyzer is a valuable tool for any network engineer looking to keep their network running smoothly. Looking to get your hands on a network analyzer? Head over to our website and we’ll show you where to buy a network analyzer.

Author Bio –
Product Manager – Wireless

Julio Petrovitch is a product manager at NetAlly, plus a certified CWNA/CWAP/CWDP/CWSP. He’s worked with network design, testing and validation for more than 15 years. Throughout he’s career he has had the opportunity to work with multiple networking technologies, including POTS, DSL, Copper/Fiber Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and BLE.