New Fluke Networks LinkIQ pinpoints the leading cause of Industrial Ethernet failures

New tester combines the company’s advanced cable performance technology with switch diagnostics

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Fluke Networks introduces the LinkIQ™-IE Cable+Network Industrial Ethernet Tester designed to troubleshoot network cabling, the leading cause of Industrial Ethernet failures. With Ethernet-based technologies increasingly the default for automation networks, the need for easy-to-use tools to troubleshoot these networks is growing rapidly. By combining Fluke Networks’ state-of-the-art cable measurement technology and basic tests for Industrial Ethernet switches, LinkIQ-IE speeds and simplifies the discovery of network failures in a simple to use touchscreen interface, akin to a smartphone.

Ethernet is becoming critical as it becomes the dominant technology for automation. In their annual survey, HMS Networks, a provider of industrial communications solutions found that 70% of newly installed factory automation nodes employ Industrial Ethernet. Research from Indu-Sol, a leading industrial network support organization, finds that more than half of their Industrial Ethernet service calls result from cabling-related issues. Clearly, the ability to test and troubleshoot this cabling is critical to supporting industrial automation.

“Troubleshooting Industrial Ethernet problems often involves the use of complex tools such as protocol analyzers that require years of training or trial-and-error approaches such as running bypass cable in the hope of solving the problem,” said Walter Hock, vice president of product for Fluke. “We designed LinkIQ-IE to provide answers to key troubleshooting questions in seconds through an easy-to-use touchscreen interface and a price that puts it in the reach of factory teams.”

“With the ability to display switch port, VLAN, and PoE information, LinkIQ-IE is a great addition to our toolkit,” said James Sinn, owner of Sinn Development, an Oakville, Ontario-based provider of design, installation and troubleshooting services. “And the cable tests are essential as well.  The first thing I did with LinkIQ-IE was to test the cabling for a face shield production line. It instantly showed me that the cause of the problem was a disconnected shield that made the cable susceptible to the EMI from a nearby machine tool with a large induction motor.”

The LinkIQ-IE is based on a single-test approach that automatically provides the appropriate measurements based on what’s at the other end of the cable. For an open cable, it shows the length and pairing. If it’s terminated with the supplied remote, the test result shows the maximum data rate the cable can support – up to 10 Gb/s. If the cable is connected to a switch port, LinkIQ-IE shows the name of the switch plus the port name, speed, and duplex. If PoE is advertised, it will display the power and class (up to 90 W or Class 8) and then load the switch to verify the power can be delivered.

The LinkIQ-IE features an RJ-45 type connector and includes cabling and adapters simplifying connection to M12-D, M12-X, and M8-D connectors commonly used in industrial applications.

For more information about the LinkIQ-IE, please visit www.flukenetworks.com/MeetLinkIQ.

The Fluke Networks LinkIQ-IE Cable+Network Industrial Ethernet Tester is available for purchase from resellers worldwide or directly through the website above.

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