A few years back some of us wrote on a common theme around our tools and tool-bags. These posts turned out to be quite popular and informative to many in the community, including ourselves. Since the original post back in 2011, I have added a few new toys tools to my tool-bag and figured it was time to share some of the updates with you.
My first post will be about Fluke LinkSprinter 200. Before I get started, I just want to give a shout-out to a fellow Tech Field Day delegate, Bob McCouch over at HerdingPackets.Net , for telling me about this tool.
So what is so special about the LinkSprinter 200 and why do you need one?
Simple, just ask yourself if have you ever had to…
- Track down what switch and port a network element (Computer, Server, WAP, etc) is connected to?
- Find out what VLAN a port is in?
- Does the port support PoE?
- Check to make sure DHCP is working?
- Find out what speed and duplex a port can operating at?
- Do you have connectivity to your gateway and the internet?
The LinkSprinter 200 tool can do all of that and fast! I used it for a network migration the other day and it saved us hours of work. Normally we have to trace cables to find where printers are plugged into so we can change VLANs and port configurations. Normally this takes about 10–20 minutes per printer, with the LinkSPrinter we were able to get all the printers done in about 10 minutes.
There are two models of the Linksprinter – the LinkSprinter 100 and the LinkSprinter 200. The difference in these two units is that the LinkSsprinter 200 comes with built-in WiFi for obtaining instant result as well as cloud services whereas the Linksprinter 100 is just the cloud service. So what that means is you will need to have Internet connectivity in order for the 100 to upload the reports. With the LinkSprinter 200 you are able to disable the cloud service – thus protecting your client data when you are at a client site. I purchased the LinkSprinter 200 for these reasons – to protect my clients data and for instant results.
Below is the LinkSprinter 200 that I purchased from Amazon. I also purchased the holster for the unit and it comes with a small patch cord to use with the tester. The tester is small (size shown later on in the post), so I feel that the case is a must to keep it handy and protected. It runs on two AA batteries or can run off of network PoE.
When you get your LinkSprinter 200 the first thing you should do is head over to linksprinter.com/signup and register your unit. This will allow you to receive your e-mail reports and have access to the report dashboard. It takes a few minutes to do, but is will worth it. I will be honest, I registered mine after using it for my first install. 🙂
When you first turn the unit on it will boot up and start to test. You will only see green lights flashing on the unit.
To enable WiFi, press the green button quickly, once. The blue WiFi LED will start to flash. It will stop flashing once you are connected to it via WiFi.
While the blue light is flashing you should search for a SSID called LinksprinterXXX, where XXX is your units unique SSID based on MAC address.
Once you are connected, you should receive an IP in the range of 172.16.9.x/24. Here mine is 172.16.9.10/24.
Now you can connect it to your network and run a network test. Here I have it connected to my home Netgear switch. Yes I run a Netgear switch at home. I have adopted the philosophy of Home is Home and Work is Work. I do not want to go home to go to work to support a network.
If you want to see the results immediately, you just have to open a web browser to http://172.16.9.9 and you will see your results.
The report below shows that we are connected at:
- We did not receive any PoE
- 1000 Full Duplex
- Connected to a device called FryguyHomeSwitch,
- The unit received an IP of 192.168.0.22 from DHCP
- The unit can ping our gateway at 192.168.0.
- The unit canaccess www.google.com.
To find out more about any test item you just need to click on it. Here we clicked on the FryguyHomeSwitch section and we can see that we are connected to g9, no VLAN, the switch model is GS724Tv4, and it’s IP address is 192.168.0.21.
Shortly after that, if you have cloud service enabled, you will get an e-mail with the results. The e-mail contains the same information as the web interface, just with all the detail in one message.
- The switch advertised 10/100/1000 and HDx/FDx
- We are connected to port g9 on FryguyHomeSiwtch
- The switch is a Netgear GS724Tv4 ProSafe 24–port Gigabi
- IP of the switch is 192.168.0.21
- Our DHCP server is 192.168.0.1 and our mask is 255.255.255.0
- The DNS is 192.168.0.1
- We can ping our gateway at 192.168.0.1
- We can access a web page on www.google.com
These results are also in your portal when you log into your LinkSprinter account.
Now that was a Netgear switch, what about other vendors? It should work with any vendor who is running LLDP or CDP.
Below I am connected to my lab Cisco 3560-24PS with PoE running CDP. You will also notice that it is unable to access www.google.com, thus the icon is Red. My lab network is isolated from my home network.
This is the report from the unit connected to my lab Juniper EX2200 that is running LLDP.
This is the report from the unit connected to my lab SRX210H that is also running LLDP.
The overall size of the unit is compact. Below is the depth of the unit compared to a CF card.
Here is the height compared to a normal pen.
I mentioned that you can turn off the cloud services on the device. To do that you just need to connect to the web interface and click on the Settings (gear icon) on the unit. This will take you to the setting page where you can enable and disable certain features like Test 1GB, Auto-off, and Cloud Services. You can also change from DHCP to static, change the WWW site you test against (perhaps use an Intranet site), as well as the SSID.
In case you are interested, here are the current prices at Amazon.com – if you want to get one, just click on the link. By clicking these links you also help offset the costs for running the blog.
For more information, be sure to check out the Fluke LinkSprinter website at Fluke Networks LinkSprinter and these quick Fluke Networks LinkSprinter YouTube videos.
Network Tester Overview
Network Tester Basics
Cloud Services – Network Testing & Cloud Services
Turn Your Phone into a Network Troublshooter
If you want to see the the links to the original Toolbag posts:
Fryguy.Net – What’s in my toolbag
PacketLife.Net – What’s in Your Tool Bag?
Router Jockey – My Toolbag
Network Janitor – My Favourite Tool in my Toolbag!
Jennifer Huber – What’s in *my* backpack