Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | March 27, 2015 |


Fluke Networks Attacks Cable Install Issues

Fluke Networks Attacks Cable Install Issues Cloud-based cable certification project management can ease challenges project managers often face.

Cloud-based cable certification project management can ease challenges project managers often face.

In a recent conversation with Adrian Young, product manager for Fluke Networks, I learned about the company's latest version of its LinkWare Live cloud-based cable certification project management service and three key issues in cable installation testing/certification practices that it can help address.

The top three issues cable contractors have during testing and certification of installed cable plant are: wrong test limit selected, incorrect cable IDs, and difficulty of consolidating test results.

LinkWare Live Professional, introduced in February, offers features for the Versiv family of copper and fiber cable certification testers. These include the ability to:

  • Remotely configure and test setup for multiple Versiv tools from any smart device
  • Create and upload test and cable ID data from any location
  • Reconcile between the project manager's test setup and the field technician's uploaded results in real time

LinkWare Live Professional offers two-way interaction between the project manager and technicians and their test equipment with the goal of eliminating errors and monitoring job progress. Project managers can now set up new jobs for multiple testers, assign cable IDs, configure test limits, and then push them to the cloud.

Upon job completion, field technicians upload results from the tester to LinkWare Live cloud service, which automatically assigns copper and fiber test results to the correct project.

LinkWare Live Professional streamlines the contractor workflow through:

  • Two-way communication between the tester and the cloud
  • Simple browser-based test setup and configuration, with the ability to generate cable IDs
  • Test setup corrections and updates to Versiv devices without removing them from the field
  • Notifications of incorrect test settings
  • Free storage of up to 200,000 copper or 10,000 fiber results (links) or a combination of the two

Circling back to the three key issues cable contractors experience -- these do result in lost time, delayed project completions that translate to late payment, and lost hours due to cable test results that are either wrong and or lost because of data corruption. All of these issues directly impact the profitability of a job.

In a recent project, for example, we had to spend time isolating and troubleshooting issues with cable plant installed by a contractor. We found the plant test good, but upon completion of the job change orders we found that the IDs were wrong. Patch panels in closets had been added, which cable designations had not revealed. We spent hours identifying the cable terminations and matching them up to the proper patch panels.

I also know from past experience that one of the worst things installers can do is install cable plant and then discover they've mistakenly used Category 5 instead of Category 6, for example. As unlikely as this sounds, it happens. Fortunately, LinkWare services can easily prevent such incidents.

In addition, LinkWare Live provides the ability to see the progress of cable plant installations through test results. This allows the project manager to better manage and collaborate with field technicians.

As Adrian demonstrated LinkWare services for me, another use came to mind -- when going into job sites with pre-existing cable plants. Often landlords manage to preserve tenant spaces, including cable infrastructure. Using LinkWare, a project manager can scan the plant for certification and isolate any known issues, such as whether the plant comprises all Cat 5, Cat 6, or Cat 7 cabling or has a mix of different types.

Both LinkWare Live Essentials and LinkWare Live Professional are available as free services for Versiv owners. After this year, LinkWare Live Professional will be available as a monthly subscription service.

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