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Topic # 179172 30-Aug-2015 07:58
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Hi there. I am wanting to make a tool for work to determine the maximum speed output of a wired network. This will depend on cabling and hardware so I would like to build a small battery powered device to test without the need for a PC or laptop.

Does anybody know if it is possible to power a 10/100/1000 network card standalone, without a PC. When plugged into the network, have the status lights on the plug flash to identify an active wired network and it's speed?

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  Reply # 1376256 30-Aug-2015 08:19
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Yes it's probably possible, but I'm not quite sure what it is you're trying to achieve.

If you want to test Ethernet you simply need the proper hardware - something like a Fluke Cable IQ tester that will work at layer 1 and test a connection at 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps to check that it meets performance spec, and at Layer 3 to perform basic connectivity testing.



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  Reply # 1376339 30-Aug-2015 10:27
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There are two separate speed issues - the maximum speed of the interface (e.g. 100 or 1000) and the rate at which frames can be processed by the device or service.  The other important bit is your budget.  Based on your question I will assume all you want to know is what speed the interface can achieve.

For a quick DIY you might be able to use a Rasperberry Pi and put some LEDs on the GPIO pins with a bit of code but I think the in-built port is limited to 100.  Some people use a USB-Ethernet adapter to get a 1000 interface and you might be able to get it working to show how it is connecting but getting a bit too complicated.

A dedicated tester is the best answer but unless you can pick up one of the older style at big discount the price may be a killer.  There are some new models that might suit like the Fluke Linksprinter (Fluke website here) although I have never looked at this model and rather unclear how much you can see on the instrument and what you need to access from the cloud  or via WiFi in the case of the 200.  The article said "The LinkSprinter 100 is priced at $199 and the LinkSprinter 200 at $299. Tests results that are saved to the LinkSprinter service are priced at $9.95 for 100 tests or $79.95 for 1,000 tests (currently, through May 31, 2014, you get unlimited tests for the first 120 days of ownership)."

If there is anyone on this forum who has used these I would be interested in feedback.  The LinkSprinter 100 or 200 might be ok but the concept of having to connect back to cloud server for this type of test seems painful if wanting to check local link.  Maybe the LED indication is enough for you.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1376423 30-Aug-2015 14:59
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Do you just want a device that you plug a network cable into. That will tell you that the other end is plugged into something, and what the link rate is? If so then just get a cheap 5 port gigabit switch, and look at it's front panel LEDs. Alot of them run on 12V so it would be easy to run one on batteries.

Or do you need to send data down to cable to verify connectivity / speed between 2 endpoints?





dwl

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  Reply # 1376455 30-Aug-2015 15:41
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Aredwood: Do you just want a device that you plug a network cable into. That will tell you that the other end is plugged into something, and what the link rate is? If so then just get a cheap 5 port gigabit switch, and look at it's front panel LEDs. Alot of them run on 12V so it would be easy to run one on batteries.

Or do you need to send data down to cable to verify connectivity / speed between 2 endpoints?

Good idea, even a cheap router or modem lying around might work. Some may show whether 1000 or 100 by the colour of the LED. If you want more detail like whether doing auto or fixed then gets harder.

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  Reply # 1376494 30-Aug-2015 17:31
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livefornow851: Snip......
Does anybody know if it is possible to power a 10/100/1000 network card standalone, without a PC. When plugged into the network, have the status lights on the plug flash to identify an active wired network and it's speed?

I can't answer this question, but I can use my tablet with a micro USB to ethernet adaptor to tell me if a network cable is active. A Speedtest.net check gives an indication I can see the outside world.

With the right version of android the adaptor would probably work on some phones. There are likely some network tool apps out there too, but I haven't looked in while.

In-situ cable testing I've done with other dedicated line testing tools


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  Reply # 1376502 30-Aug-2015 17:56
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Being able to sync an Ethernet link at a particular speed does not mean that link is capable of maximum throughput without errors or packet loss. There are testers like the LANscaper that can test throughput and give a "bit error rate" reading along with other cable testing, generally over $2000, as well as more limited tools that only test throughput. I imagine your Raspberry Pi will need some work on the kernel to measure the bit error rate...

Generally contractors testing ethernet links are only looking for the physical specs of the cable itself such as crosstalk and resistance, so the Fluke is usually used.




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  Reply # 1376587 30-Aug-2015 20:08
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I would say a raspberry pi with a lcd screen will let you run iperf and similar tools to test end to end connectivity.
Otherwise a fluke tool to test the physical specs as everyone else has said.





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