New Gear and All The Ideas!

One of Laminar’s key engineering principles is being able to provide the real answer to things that are going on.  That is – “This is engineering, no guesswork!”

The key requirement for us to live up to this in a timely manner is to have the right test equipment that can provide evidence!  We need to measure and prove our propositions design and work, so over the years we have accumulated a large range of test gear and we are always trying the latest!

One of those is the new NetAlly.  This device is a palm held 10G network analyser, wifi and cable tester.  The system also connects to a cloud dashboard so we can record details of our tests for sharing or record test results for a long period of time.

On many occasions we are called out to find or resolve a problem but it does not present itself when we turn up.  We can leave this equipment onsite to measure details and record activity over a long time period.  This allows us to observe the symptoms and correlate it with potential causes and provide proof of the event.  We can also use this method to create benchmarks for future comparisons.

We can use the NetAlly for all sorts of WiFi tests but we can also conduct a wireless survey as the system integrates with our Airmagnet software.  We can set up the survey in the hand held tool and simply conduct our walk around survey with the NetAlly.

When it comes to traditional networking, the NetAlly allows us to connect to a network and map out topologies, conduct load tests (wired and wireless), check switch and router parameters.  With the cloud connection we can send out a junior engineer to a site with the tester and once connected specialist or more senior engineers can review the results in real time and direct suitable responses or remedial works.

With a click of a button we can conduct a network discovery which reports the results to the cloud account.  We can then review it there and convert the results directly into a Visio document which is very handy when it comes to writing the report.

We can also use the tester with our Fluke cable test equipment for basic cable testing.  Before deployment of new equipment on existing cable plant we often test critical paths beforehand to make sure we don’t spend time chasing other problems, especially during tight change control windows.

The NetAlly tool is Android based so you can add other applications from the playstore if you wish and ours came with a handy tool called a Netscout Test Accessory. It’s primarily used as an iPerf client/server for load testing but I have found it useful for reporting basic network information to the cloud account.  Simply plug it into a switch port and it will connect, get an address and report some basic details for future review.  Handy for wandering around client networks to record the basics.


- By Alan Kepper