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Review: Fluke reinvents handheld network testing

Brian Chee | April 9, 2014
The Fluke Networks LinkSprinter makes on-the-fly network testing quick, easy, and more affordable than ever

I'm hoping Fluke will settle on a slightly higher number of tests per subscription level. Currently, you get 100 tests per LinkSprinter per month for a monthly fee of $9.95, or 1,000 tests per LinkSprinter per month for a monthly fee of $79.95. On the plus side, usage during the first 120 days after registration is both unlimited and free so that you can get comfortable with your new tool. After that, the first 10 tests per month continue to be free. You also have the option to surge outside of your subscription level on a month-by-month basis.

The Fluke Networks LinkSprinter is sold through Amazon, and it's available at a price just about anyone could afford. To get the price down to consumer levels, some compromises had to be made (see the list of pros and cons below). But the LinkSprinter is a network test tool anyone can use -- not just the network techs with years of experience -- and it's cheap enough to put into a lot of hands. Imagine how many tech support calls could be avoided if the branch office manager could plug in a LinkSprinter and see if he gets four or five green lights.

  • Inexpensive
  • Platform-independent
  • One-button operation
  • Pairs with LinkSprinter Cloud Service for test aggregation
  • Will test gigabit connections, but will only run Internet tests at 10/100 megabits
  • Test results can be filtered and exported to PDF or CSV
  • PoE test will tell you how much power is available
  • Can run on PoE or AA batteries
  • Can comment or annotate test results via your HTML5 browser
  • Available on Amazon
  • Uses LLDP or CDP for switch information discovery
  • Access (to LinkSprinter 200) limited to 2.4GHz 802.11b/g
  • Confirms only Layer 2 gig operation, not Layer 3 or higher
  • LinkSprinter Cloud Service currently lacks an API
  • Clumsy if you do not have DHCP on your network
  • No DHCP option parameter demux yet, so you see only the option itself
  • Uses only LLDP or CDP to discover upstream device information; no SNMP support yet
  • Must push results to the cloud; no on-premise counterpart
  • Can only store up to four test results, but not to the phone or tablet
  • Can only upload results over the wired Ethernet interface
  • Initial setup must be on a wired network with DHCP

 

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