When trying to resolve network issues away from your desk there are many approaches that can be taken. Having the right tools for the job makes all the difference of course. Previously I have always just carried a laptop for this. As part of a larger project we were able to roll in a Flunk Link Runner AT 2000. I have been very pleased with it so far when troubleshooting the basic connectivity issues.
The Link Runner AT 2000 is a simple and easy to use network troubleshooting tool. It features cable diagnostics, switch discovery features, and IP connectivity tests as well. When plugging the Link Runner into a live data outlet it will display the attached switch information if applicable. Switch port designation, VLAN assignment, switch IP address and hostname, and even POE information is displayed.
Returning to the home screen and running an auto test allows you to easily verify several important network services and functionality. The device grabs IP information from DHCP and attempts to ping critical service IPs such as the default gateway, DNS servers, and any manually defined hosts you have entered. The Link Runner will even verify connectivity on a specific port number to a specific host. All results show additional details including the number of packets sent/received as well as response times as well.
If you want to diagnose cabling issues with the Link Runner you are in luck as well. We bought the unit as part of a kit and it came with a toner mic and wire map terminators as well. This comes in very handy when tracking down cabling issues. The Link Runner its self can generate various tones and can blink the switch port at adjustable speeds. To test patch cables there is a second port on the Link runner to connect the second end for wire mapping.
In conclusion the Fluke Link Runner AT 2000 is a very handy quick look troubleshooting device. It’s easy to use and can work well for anyone on our staff from the electrician to the help desk guys to an engineer. I would recommend that Link Runner if you have the funds to pick one up.