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Cable Testers

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Unit 6 Cable Testers

Cable Tester is a device that is used to check the connectivity of and signal strength of a wired cable installation to insure the server and computer are properly installed. A tester main function is to determine connectivity and provide the installer with information regarding a pass or fail reading. Cable testers will be used at the time of installation and while trouble shooting a problem. Although testers can be purchased in a high to low price range, it is best to purchase high quality equipment, this will save time frustration and money.
Time-Domain Reflectmeters (TDR) is the standard tool used to determine the length of a copper cable and locates the impedance signal, caused by shorts, damaged cables and interference with other systems. LCD or CRT screen display their reading in a waveform. A high quality TDR can test any type of cable that uses metallic conductors, such as coaxial and twisted pairs. TDR have many more valuable functions such as detecting large faults, water damage, crimped, cut smashed cables measures lengths and distances to any of issues. TDR can also be used as an inventory tool allowing the installer to determine if the reel contains enough cable to complete a particular job. It is my opinion that the TDR should be included in cable kit.
Multifunction Cable Scanners, primary advantage is its user friendly applications, by simply connecting the unit to the cable and pressing a button the unit will perform most of the detection processes of similar units plus the advantage of computer applications for memory and printable documentation straight from the printer. These Units can be used to test both Copper and Fiber Cable; however the cost can be substantially more than other testing units. The user friendly platform of the multifunction cable scanners can also be seen as a disadvantage. An experience installer with the understanding of how test are performed, and how to evaluate the information and the money to invest, might in such a costly unit. I would not consider this unit to be a must in every tool kit.

Optical Time Domain Reflectometers (OTDR) that analyzes the light loss in an optical fiber. Used to find faults, splices and bends in the line, it works by sending out a light pulse and measuring its reflection. These devices can measure fiber lines that are longer than 150 miles are the equivalent of the TDR used for copper cables. An OTDR may also be used for estimating the fiber's length and overall attenuation, including splice and mated-connector losses. It may also be used to locate faults, such as breaks. As with the TDR the LCD or CRT screen as wave form. This type of test is best for the experienced installer as you must have specific training and working knowledge of Fiber Optics Cable installations. As with the Multifunction Scanner the price for these units are substantial. In my opinion this unit is required in every installation due to the cost factor.

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