You can do wire-mapping, test for the length of the cable, test the attenuation, and you can test NEXT (near end crosstalk) for copper cables. They will also test for optical power and signal loss in fiber optic cables. A lot of the multifunction cable testers perform other more comprehensive test such as AS-NEXT, ACRE, AS-ACRE, delay skew, propagation skew, and return loss. The biggest advantage to them is that anyone can use one all you have to do is hook it up and press a button.
The biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage if you don’t know the specifications of the cables you are installing.
Unless you buy one that is configurable so that you can set it to the specifications that you need. The second tool is the Wire map tester. Wire mapping tools send signals through each wire in twisted pair cables and check to see if they are connected to the correct pins on each side.
They are the most basic of the cable testing tools but are necessary to use because the most common cause of installation errors is to connecting the wires to the pins correctly. Wire mapping tools can detect broken or unconnected wires along with shorts in the wires all of which can make a wire not work.
They are almost always part of multifunction cable testers but it is not always necessary to spend more money than you need to in order to perform this simple task. The third type of tool is a tone generator they are used to figure out which cable is which when you have multiple cables in one area not yet connected. A tone generator sends a signal done the cable you use the probe that when it is couched to the correct wire will emit a tone that lets you know you have the right one. A tone generator will allow you to find shorts in the wires, MIS-wiring and open wires.
They are very time consuming to use and it is easier and faster to use a wire mapping tool rather than a tone generator. I believe that every installation kit should include a wire mapping tool and a multifunction tool. The reason is simple the multifunction tool can test for just about everything you need to test for concerning copper and fiber optic cable installation. The wire mapping tool though can be used for when you are just installing cables for voice communications, or if you have multiple people on a job they can both be using a tool at the same time.
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