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Shopping for a Network Tester? Six Important Considerations

If you’ve had enough of how hard it is to troubleshoot network issues using “typical” means (a laptop, apps on a phone, Wireshark, your network management system, etc.) and have decided to seek out a dedicated test instrument, there are a few key points to consider when evaluating your options:

1. Does it link to the network?
Hard to believe, but there are vendors out there calling their product a “network tester” when it can’t even link. Identifying the port & VLAN you’re connected to is fine, but if you can’t validate full network connectivity, that’s…well…crazy. I mean, if you can’t even ping, what good is that?

2. If it does link, does it link at the speeds you want to test?
Linking at 1Gbps to test a 10Gbps link is…???

3. Can it diagnose issues with the link if the PoE/speed/duplex is not what it should be?
Kind of hard to solve problems if there are no network diagnostics.

4. Can it validate key network services?
Is DHCP working? Are there multiple DHCP offers? How about DNS? What are the response times?

5. Can it test TCP connection times to critical internal and external sites?
Network connectivity is so much more than linking…you have to ensure your users can connect to the resources and apps they need.

6. Can it push real IP traffic (with QoS validation) across your entire infrastructure and site-to-site?
You’ll know the quality of packet transmission over your infrastructure ONLY if you can test from end-to-end and site-to-site.