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LAN & WAN Reviews

Cable Fault

To test the Cable feature, I then cut the white/orange wire on my 6' Ethernet cable at about 3' and re-ran theCable test. As you can see in the below image, this time I got a different result.

LinkSprinter 300 Fault at 1m

LinkSprinter 300 Fault at 1m

As you can see, the above image shows “Good <1m” next to wires 1 and 2. Wires 3-8 all show “Terminated ?m.” Knowing there was a fault at 1m, it appears the “Good <1m” means wires 1-2 are good to 1m, or more importantly, there is a fault at about 1m. Note, the last two characters of the “Terminated ?m” display is hard to read as the “ed” of “Terminated” and “?m” are overwritten.

It's easy enough to figure out what the display means, but it could be better labeled. I would have labeled the bad wires with “Fault <1m” and the good wires with “Good ?m.”

I repeated my test with a known good factory made 25' Ethernet cable. This time, I cut the white/orange wire at about 18'. As you can see in the below image, the LinkSprinter 300 measured the fault at 5.6m (18.4 ft.). Note, the LinkSprinter is measuring the cable fault distance from the LinkSprinter, not the network switch. As mentioned earlier, you can select the measurement units in either meters or feet in the device's configuration menu.

LinkSprinter 300 Fault at 6m

LinkSprinter 300 Fault at 6m

I flipped my 25' cable around, putting the fault about 7' from the LinkSprinter. This time, as you can see below, the LinkSprinter measured the fault at 2.4m (7.9 ft.)

LinkSprinter 300 Fault at 7ft

LinkSprinter 300 Fault at 7ft

Flash Port

The Flash Port menu is also useful. This tool appears to enable and disable the Ethernet port on the LinkSprinter 300, which causes the link LEDs on your network switch/router/hub to slowly blink on and off. This can be helpful when trying to figure out which port on your network device is connected to a specific Ethernet cable in a bundle of wires, such as in the image below.

LinkSprinter 300 Port Flash Tool

LinkSprinter 300 Port Flash Tool

I made a short video showing off this feature. I started with the LinkSprinter 300 connected to a Cisco SG200-26 switch's port 10. Notice the LED on the switch's port 10 flickering like an active switch port. Then I enabled the Flash Port option on the LinkSprinter300 and you can see the LED on switch port 10 goes on and off. If I had a mass of wires, such as in the above picture, this simple feature would have made it quick and easy to trace the cable to the switch port.

Closing Thoughts

Based on my simple tests, the Cable feature was pretty accurate in identifying the location of a fault. To make this feature better, it would be good if the Cable menu provided an approximate length of a good cable. Obviously, the labeling could also be better with more intuitive labels and correcting the overwritten characters.

Also, I noticed the results from a failed Cable test are only available via the Wi-Fi connection to the LinkSprinter and aren't emailed or uploaded the Link-Live cloud. Obviously, when connected to a bad cable, the LinkSprinter can't send the results to the cloud. However, it would be nice if the device had the ability to store a couple previous results and upload them once connected.

I also like the Flash Port tool. It does a nice job of visually identifying a switch port. I can see this tool saving a lot of time if you're trying to trace cables.

Pricing for the LinkSprinter 100 is $199, the 200 is $299, and the LinkSprinter 300 as reviewed here is $399. When Fluke launched the product, there was additional costs for use of the cloud service, which fortunately Fluke has dropped.

In my experience, a tool that makes a job easier leads to more accurate and quicker results. Fluke's LinkSprinters make cable troubleshooting tasks easier and quicker and will likely pay for themselves with increased accuracy and shorter times to task completion.

Certainly, the LinkSprinter beats lugging a laptop around just to test cables. As I mentioned in my review of the LinkSprinter 200, the Wi-Fi feature makes the LinkSprinter 200 a lot more useful than the LinkSprinter 100. Similarly, the Cable and Flash Port features on the LinkSprinter 300 make it worth the additional $100 over the LinkSprinter 200 for networking pros. All but the LinkSprinter 100, however, are likely too pricey for hobbyists.

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