|At a glance|
|Product||Fluke Networks LinkSprinter 300 (LSPRNTR-300) [Website]|
Handheld pocket-sized Ethernet network test tool w/ cable fault distance feature.
|Pros||• Small, convenient, easy to use|
• Communicates via Wi-Fi with phone / tablet without existing network
• Distance to cable fault feature
|Cons||• Confusing labeling on cable fault feature|
• VLAN testing limited to native port; no 802.1q support
• Pricey for hobbyist use
Fluke Networks introduced the LinkSprinter 100 and 200 network test tools last year, winning awards from InfoWorld and Electrical Construction & Maintenance, among others. I reviewed the LinkSprinter 200 last year and was quite impressed with its utility and simplicity.
Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with network engineers and technicians at various locations and observed them carrying a LinkSprinter. I've asked them how they liked the device and the common response was they found it handy and easy to use. I've used the LinkSprinter at my regular job and found it handy for quickly identifying key information such as the presence of PoE, a DHCP server and corresponding subnet information, as well as the native VLAN ID on a port.
In March, Fluke Networks launched the LinkSprinter 300, which further enhances the LinkSprinter product. This review will focus on the new features in the LinkSprinter 300. The below list shows the features in the LinkSprinter 100, 200, and 300.
- Hand held, battery and PoE powered network test tool
- Single button operation
- Diagnose and test Power over Ethernet (PoE), Link to the switch, DHCP, Gateway, and Internet connection
- Get VLAN ID, switch name, and port information via CDP/LLDP/EDP
- Color graded LEDs simplify troubleshooting
- All test results are sent to the Link-Live Cloud Service
- Test results sent to email
LinkSprinter 200 adds:
- Test results available on a smart phone or PC browser using the built-in Wi-Fi access point
LinkSprinter 300 adds:
- Test for cable faults, display distance to open/short
- Cause the switch/hub/router port to blink
Activating a LinkSprinter device involves setting up a free account on LinkSprinter's cloud Link-Live website. If you already have an account and other LinkSprinter devices, as I did from testing the LinkSprinter 200 last year, all you have to do is add the last 6 digits of the MAC of the new device to include the new device's configurations and output on the website. As you can see below, my LinkSprinter account now has both a LinkSprinter 200 and 300.
With multiple devices on your account, you can configure them via the cloud to all use the same settings, or you can configure each one differently. You can also configure the device locally. Configuration options include power saving options for testing 1 Gbps and AutoOff, enabling the Cloud Service, setting cable unit of measurement to feet or meters, using DHCP or static IP addresses, defining the website and port used for testing Internet connectivity, specifying the SSID and channel used for the Wi-Fi radio, and selecting a language preference.
Physically, the LinkSprinter 200 and 300 are identical with the exception that one says “200” and the other says “300,” as you can see in the image below.
LinkSprinter 200 and 300
I found the LinkSprinter 300 to function exactly the same as the 200 I tested last year. Both devices have a single button. The button turns the device on, enables Wi-Fi, repeats a test, and shuts the device down with successive button pushes.
The difference is the LinkSprinter 300 adds two new features over the 200. The two new features are a cable tester tool and a tool that will cause the link light(s) on the far end of a cable to blink.
You'll notice on the main results page on the 300 a tool icon on the bottom right that doesn't exist on the 200, shown below. (Note, my images below are screenshots from an iPhone 5s connected to the LinkSprinter's Wi-Fi radio.)
LinkSprinter 300 Tools
When you click the tool icon, you're presented with a simple menu with an option labeled “Cable” and an option labeled “Flash Port,” as shown below.
LinkSprinter 300 Tool Menu
Selecting Cable on a working Ethernet cable simply shows a green link icon and the cable speed. As you can see in the below icon, it shows a green link icon on the left and the number “1000” in bold, indicating a good cable on a port running at 1Gbps. In the below test, I used a factory made 6' Ethernet cable.