Tech Tips Blog

USB-C Power packs extend portability of EtherScope nXG

Network professionals face many different challenges from day to day. But even in a single day, you may find yourself needing to troubleshoot a Wi-Fi performance problem in the morning, and capture packets for escalation evidence in the afternoon. Having the powerful capabilities of EtherScope nXG in a handheld instrument makes these tasks easy, but even with the typical 2 ½ hour battery run time, you may find yourself wanting more flexibility in mobile troubleshooting, and stopping to charge the unit – or be tied to a wall outlet for power – is the last thing you need.

Thankfully, with the unit’s USB-C port and a third-party power pack (or “brick”), you can DOUBLE the mobile usage time of the EtherScope nXG.

We found one specific pack that works great with the EtherScope– the PowerArc ArcPack (model PA1801) available from various resellers (and Amazon here).

Not all power packs will work, but we validated the PowerArc, and other packs with similar specs should as well. We chose this pack because:

1. At 54Wh, it is capable of 100% charging the 46Wh EtherScope (some efficiency lost) so, well-matched in terms of capacity.

2. This is also a USB-C brick that matches the EtherScope power port.

3. It is well made (aluminum case) and uses premium Samsung cells.

4. The real bonus is it comes with a high-quality USB-C to USB-C cable that works well with EtherScope.

We put it to the test and found very good performance:

5. With EtherScope off:  It is fast to charge – I charged a 10% unit to 90% in 90 minutes. As you approach 100% the rate slows as a function of Lithium Ion cell technology.

6. With EtherScope on: As a battery life extender it is about 2x. We tested with a power-hungry, active testing display on the entire time (every minute periodic Wi-Fi AutoTest) while connected with the 2nd radio linked (Android connectivity/management port radio) and achieved over 5 hours of use. For the first 2h 45m the EtherScope battery remained at 100% until the power brick was exhausted so the precedence is to preserve the internal battery, which is ideal.

7. It is capable of both operating and charging the unit at the same time. We plugged in the brick to an EtherScope @ 48% charge (doing the same full-on periodic test in #2). An hour later the EtherScope was at 71%, also while running.

8. Charging the brick from the EtherScope power adapter was also fast and took under 2 hours (meaning you don’t have to worry about keeping two chargers around!)

There are likely other bricks out there that will work… but the landscape is complicated with names like QuickCharge, iSmart, QuantumBoost, Intelligent Power Diffusion… But none of these work as EtherScope uses basic USB-C high power charging.