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Top Three Software Tools to Test Ethernet Connections

written by: •edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 3/8/2011

Have you validated your LAN? Sure, you’ve run the cables and made the connections, but will you be able see where a problem will arise? Ethernet testing tools can ease the frustration of dealing with unhappy users complaining of slow graphics or intermitt

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    What Does Ethernet, Testing Software Do?

    If you are interested in troubleshooting or tweaking connection speed on an intranet, or desire a system to monitor your network’s performance, then you will need some Ethernet testing tools. PC users will occasionally need to use these software tools to help diagnose hardware problems. The term Ethernet usually describes the local area network or LAN; this where a system of computers and other devices are connected together sharing an access point to the Internet.

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    What Is Really Being Tested?

    The easiest variable to test is the speed of the connection. Simple software will basically time how long it takes for a file of a set size to be transmitted to the machine and for the machine to acknowledge the receipt of the file. Other tests involve circuit continuity and identification which are important to the setup and maintenance of switch and router controls.

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    Top 3 Ethernet Testing Software Choices

    There are quite a few Ethernet testing tools available for purchase at the moment, and it can be a challenge deciding which one to use. Three options are listed below to help make the decision easier. Basic features are listed as well as the retail price, some of these packages also offer a free trial, which is especially handy if you would prefer to try it before purchase.

    WhatsUp—WhatsUp Gold offers real time monitoring as well as testing functions. The Gold standard version comes with plug-ins that test and diagnose connections, speed and flow, along with specialized VoIP tools to assist in Ethernet communication management. A 30 day free trial is offered and the suite starts at around $1600 for up to 25 devices.

    Net Meter—Net Meter, an Ethernet testing tool that retails for around $25 offers real time and historical data on Ethernet connections. It advertises that it can even monitor multiple connections simultaneously. Bandwidth testing is also offered with availability to test any type of connection; DSL, modem, satellite, VoIP. Most versions of Windows Platforms including 7, are supported.

    PacketCheck—PacketCheck, developed and marketed by GL Communications, is billed as an IP BERT and throughput tester that uses the workstation’s own NIC card to perform the tests. In addition to measuring speed and round trip delay, the software also offers test results for packet loss, packet errors and checksum errors. It will also monitor overall traffic and data statistics and retails for around $1,000.

    PacketCheck Ethernet testing software dialogue box 

    Deciding which software to use will depend on a number of factors, not the least of which will be budget and the number of machines in your Ethernet. It is also important to remember that if you are planning the purchase of testing hardware; software may be available for use with that hardware at no additional cost. Fortunately, you have a lot of options when it comes to finding the best solution for your Ethernet testing situation.

    Image Credit: gl.com

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    References:

    gl.com, http://www.gl.com/packetcheck.html

    whatsupgold.com, http://www.whatsupgold.com/products/whatsup-gold-core/index.aspx

    wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measuring_network_throughput

    hootech.com, http://www.hootech.com/NetMeter/