LinkRunner G2 Smart Network Tester
The Smart Tester for the Connected World
LinkRunner™ G2, the latest addition to NETSCOUT’s nGenius® Internet of Things (IoT) solutions set, is a simple comprehensive testing platform that empowers technicians responsible for IoT and network device deployment and troubleshooting. LinkRunner streamlines workflows by combining the essential aspects of installation and triage in a single, ruggedized unit.
IoT Deployment and Triage Challenges
Digital transformation is driving a rapid proliferation of IoT devices requiring IP connectivity and — in many cases — network-delivered power, compelling integration and cooperation across IT, OT (Operational Technology) organizations and technologies. This puts increasing demands on already-strained enterprise access networks and operational resources.
Visibility into the connectivity and communication between IoT devices and infrastructures is crucial to IoT success. But using tools that are not built to address the unique requirements of IoT installation and the network services they rely upon results in an environment of finger pointing and project delays.
Figure 1: LinkRunner G2 provides visibility into IoT device and infrastructure connectivity and communication.
Network Operations — at the Center of IT and OT Convergence
Today’s IT organizations are faced with diverse, dynamic, and distributed infrastructures, with a lack of skilled resources at remote sites. The proliferation of network-connected devices, many outside the control of IT, compounds their daily challenges. Network operations — being essential to any IoT initiative — must find a way to be more efficient and effective in both their daily workflows and in the provisioning and troubleshooting of IoT devices.
Streamlining and Standardizing Workflows
LinkRunner G2 accelerates IoT deployments and eliminates finger pointing by combining high-wattage PoE and network connectivity testing with vendor apps on the Android™ OS1. This creates a streamlined installation and troubleshooting workflow. LinkRunner G2 enables technicians to review installation documentation, test loaded UPOE across all four pair and network services, automatically document the results, and use other vendor-specific apps to configure and triage connected devices.
Quickly Resolve Finger Pointing
Whether techs need to validate link connectivity or verify PoE as part of your own infrastructure management, or to work with vendors deploying IoT components, LinkRunner G2 can quickly and easily provide the evidence needed so the finger pointing stops.
The Risk of Using Personal Devices
Many technicians today use their personal mobile device on the job to access vendor apps, check trouble tickets, look up technical documents, calculate IP address ranges, or to configure network equipment. However, the use of a personal device for job-related tasks could be considered a security risk. In addition, it may have only limited access to network infrastructure information (if connected to a guest VLAN, for example).
But the mobile device has no ability to validate wired Ethernet infrastructure — it cannot test PoE, cabling, link negotiation or network services. While it features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, many networked end-point devices do not support these connection methods, so multiple tools are needed.
A Single Platform Gets the Job Done
Using LinkRunner G2 with its wired Ethernet capabilities and hardened Android OS, the technician can complete the job from start to finish - not only the network testing, but all aspects of their workflow. They can receive a trouble ticket, review documentation, test the network, automatically document the results, and use other vendor-specific apps to triage and configure connected devices.
Some examples of handy general apps include speed test, IP calculator, PDF reader, or even the complete guide to configuring your switches and routers. Vendor apps associated with the connected devices on your network such as your access points, security cameras, trouble ticketing system and more can be installed from the NETSCOUT® app store. We offer some of the most sought after apps, but if you do not see an app you need, simply submit a request after which we will validate compatibility and promptly get it on the store. Visit https://link-live.com/public/apps to see the current list of readily available free apps.
Automated Network Connectivity Validation
Paramount to the deployment of any type of network-connected device is validation of link and network services from the point it connects to the network. Instead of requiring the specialized expertise to understand the many underlying elements of network connectivity, by automating those many tests in a simple, but complete AutoTest, even the least experienced frontline support person can execute the test. To further simplify the workflow, test results are automatically uploaded to the included Link-Live results management and reporting database.
LinkRunner G2 AutoTest includes testing of loaded PoE up to UPOE on all four pair, Ethernet speed and duplex verification at 10/100/1000 Mbps, switch name/slot/port VLAN/voice VLAN, DHCP, DNS and Gateway connectivity testing, as well as Ping and TCP port connectivity. LinkRunner G2 supports both copper and fiber network connectivity testing. Fiber testing supports 100/1000 BASE-X. For copper, additional cable test diagnostics are provided including distance-to-fault.
Unique PoE "Under Load" Testing
More and more IoT devices are using high-wattage PoE, but without the tools to validate it, installers are left guessing when failures occur and finger pointing ensues.
LinkRunner G2 is the industry’s first solution to offer a patented TruePower™ PoE test that supports 51-Watt UPOE under load across all four pair. With TruePower PoE, LinkRunner G2 provides a simple-to-understand pass/fail indication, loaded level of PoE and requested vs. received power. Users also see what pairs PoE is running over, the Class of PoE and the PSE type. This will help IoT device installers to validate layer 1 support and power level at the Powered Device (PD).
Documenting the connection from the network drop to the switch slot/port/VLAN is a challenge for most organizations. Maintaining such information for reports, proof of moves, adds or changes, or to use as a baseline for troubleshooting in the future, greatly aids in efficiency.
LinkRunner G2 integrates with the encrypted and highly secure Link-Live results management database, which is used by all NETSCOUT handheld testers. LinkRunner G2 automatically uploads test results at the completion of each test, facilitating more collaboration between network engineers and technicians as well as greater job visibility, project control, and fleet management.
Furthermore, users have the ability to include comments, such as a wall jack location or trouble ticket number, that are uploaded and associated with the test results. Users can even attach a photo (using the on-board camera!) of items such as an asset tag, serial number, or QR code.
Simplify Remote Site Support
Many remote sites are "non-critical" and do not have on-site IT support. But what happens when something goes wrong? With a LinkRunner G2 on site, users of any skill level can simply connect to the network to execute a predefined test, documenting the results automatically.
Benefits of Using LinkRunner G2 Smart Network Tester
- Automated testing elevates the proficiency of IoT and network device technicians.
- The hardened Android-based operating system provides a breakthrough in technician productivity by enabling use of vendor/device apps for configuration and triage.
- A complete, portable network validation and configuration platform for copper and fiber links supports the entire technician workflow.
- Technicians can install and test PoE with confidence with patented load testing.
- Automated documentation in Link-Live results management database saves time and improves collaboration.
1 Android is a trademark of Google Inc.