Are you facing a low internet speed on your wired network connection? If yes, then there might be something wrong with your ethernet cable, or there can be some installation issue in case of a recently installed cable. But how do you confirm that?
Well, to test your network cables you need a digital device known as the network cable tester. These testers diagnose the ethernet cable for all sorts of issues like connectivity, speed, and strength. Once the issue is known you can easily resolve it.
Moreover, the cable tester can help you fix the problem on your own without the help of a network professional. But, choosing a good cable tester among all sorts of different testers is not an easy task and therefore we have come up with this article to help you choose the best network cable tester for your use.
Best Network Cable Tester
1. Fluke Networks MS2-100 Verifier
The first product on our list is the Fluke Microscanner2 which comes with a detachable wire map adapter. It has integrated RJ45, RJ11, and Cox cable ports which allows you to test the quality of video, voice, and data transmission of a network cable. It also supports PoE(Power over Ethernet) detection by ruling out power as a source of the problem.
Moreover, it shows all the test results on its big LCD screen with intuitive icons which makes it easier for even a beginner to comprehend the readings. Also, the oversized LCD screen can show multiple readings at once like cable ID, pair length, graphical wire map, distance to fault using TDR, and far-end device.
It also has a built-in IntelliTone Toning feature which makes it easier for you to find the bad cable among other network cables and save a lot of time. Also, it can test a cable of length up to 460 meters which is approx 1500 feet. Apart from that, it comes in a rugged housing with easy to hold rubber grip which gives it a long life.
Easy to use
No need for an external adapter
Comes with PoE detection
Good build quality
Detects all sorts of faults in a network cable
A little expensive
2. Klein Tools Cable Tester Kit
It is a complete cable tester kit from Klein tools that allow you to test voice using RJ11/12, data using RJ45, and video using coax connections. It can test the cables for short, open, and split-pair faults, along with that you can also examine the cables for continuity. Moreover, you can test a cable of length up to 2000 feet using this tester which is amazing I guess.
Also, it comes with 8 small Test-n-map remotes which reduce the testing and identification time by half. It does so by testing and mapping multiple cables in one single step. Another cool thing is that you can find and trace bad cables with its tone generator feature using a tracing probe. However, the probe doesn’t come with it and you will have to buy it separately.
Test multiple cables at once
Supports Multiple ports
Comes with a carry bag
Easy to use
Doesn’t come with the tracing probe
Not very sturdy design
3. Elegiant Cable Tester
This cable tester is a toner and probe kit that helps you test and identify a bad cable in a short amount of time. It also comes with a flashlight that aids you in finding the target cable in the dark environments. Moreover, it supports a headphone jack which allows you to listen to the toner sound even in noisy and crowded surroundings.
Moreover, it can test RJ45 and RJ11 cables even if they transmit power with the data. However, make sure the power transmitting through the cable should not be very high, or else it may not work properly. Overall, it’s an affordable multifunctional cable tester that can be used in telecommunication, wiring, and network maintenance.
Comes with a flashlight and headphone jack
Has wide applications
Comes at a very affordable price point
Can also be used for continuity checking
Not sufficient for professional usage
Does not come with the batteries
4. iMBAPrice Network Cable Tester
It is probably the easiest tester to use for checking telephone lines and cables including cat 5, cat 6, and cat7 cables. Moreover, it comes in a detachable design where one part work as a transmitter and the other as a receiver.
You just need to plug the cables on both parts of the device and then it automatically starts testing for continuity, open wires, crossed wire pairs, and short circuits. It then displays the results by flashing the LED on the tester. This instrument works on the DC 9V battery which is not included in the pack so you’ll have to buy it separately.
Easy to opreate
Automatically test for all sorts of faults in the cable
Does not come with batteries
5. Klein Tools Network Cable Tester
This network cable testing tool lets you test, map, and ID multiple cables in one go using the several test-map remotes that come with it. You get 5 LanMap and 5 CoaxMap remotes and 1 coax barrel F adapter for video testing. The good thing is that it runs on a 9V battery which comes in the box along with the tester.
Apart from a tester, it is also a cable tracer instrument that generates tones to quickly identify bad cables, wire pairs, and individual wire conductors. However, for that, it requires a tracing probe which is sold separately. Overall, it is one of the best network cable testers which is capable of testing open, short, and split-pair faults.
Test and map multiple cables at once
Has an LCD display
Comes with voltage warning and low battery indicator
LCD display quality is average
6. TRENDnet Network Cable Tester
If you were looking for a network cable tester that tests the network cables as well as the pin configurations for Ethernet, USB, and BNC cables then this tester is for you. It comes in two units, transmitter and receiver. The transmitter unit makes it easier for loop testing, while the receiver allows you to test cables at a location far away from the transmitter. You can test a cable of the length of up to 984ft.
For accurate cable testing, it features two scan modes: Continuous scan and Manual scan mode. The continuous scan also known as the Auto-scan effectively test cables ending in different locations. Whereas the manual scan works well for testing the cables in a loop.
Apart from cables, it can easily test the ports by identifying proper, damaged, short-circuited, and cross-connected pins to effectively test the pin configuration for any faults. However, the downside of this tester is that it does not support PoE testing i.e it cannot test live circuits and cables.
Can test cables and ports accurately
Supports a long cable length for testing
Has dual scan modes for testing cables
Not for PoE testing
7. Klein Tools LAN Scout Jr. Network Tester
For beginners who were looking for a professional-looking cable tester which is also easy to understand, your search ends here. This tester from Klein Tools is specially designed for home users and small business owners who want a good tester for testing their LAN networks.
It only supports one RJ45 port which tests the ethernet cables for continuity and faults like, open, short, and miswired. It has a big display which displays the wire maps for easy identification. Moreover, it only features one button which has dual functions: to operate test and to generate tones for cable tracing. Overall, it’s a great beginner-friendly cable tester that comes at a good price point.
Easy to operate
Has a large LCD display
Supports continuity testing
Only works for RJ45 connections
How To Test An Ethernet Cable With A Tester?
For testing your ethernet cable you can use a detachable ethernet tester, where the main tester works as a transmitter and the detachable part works as a receiver. Also, make sure the tester works for the length of the cable you are testing for.
Now first, you need to plug one end of the ethernet cable to the transmitter part and the other end of the cable to the receiver part of the tester using the RJ45 ports. Now on the basis of what type of tester you are using you will be able to test the cable by matching the flashing LEDs on both receiver and transmitter. Or you will see some sort of message on the screen in case you are using the tester with the display.
Different testers have different parameters to test the cables which you can understand by looking at their user guide. Here’s a video that shows how you can easily test your ethernet cables.
How To Know If The Ethernet Cable Is Good or Not?
There are some signs that you can notice to tell whether your ethernet cable is working fine or not without using an ethernet tester. So the symptoms of bad Ethernet cables are:
1. Slow and Intermittent connection
If you are suddenly facing a decline in your internet speed or your experience a non-steady internet connection, then the chances are high that your network cable is not perfectly alright.
2. Failed Network Connection
Another possible sign of that the ethernet cable if not working fine is that it fails to establish the network connection with the router. In such a case, either the router or the cable can be the culprit but if your try to establish a connection with another cable and if that happens successfully then it’s obvious that your network cable has gone bad.
3. Network Restores With A Wiggle
If you ever experience that the lost connection gets restored just by wiggling the cable then it means you are dealing with a broken ethernet cable.
However, to be sure that your cable is bad or not you should test it out using a good cable tester.
Factors To Consider Before Buying Best Network Cable Tester
Just like with any other product you need to keep some important factors in mind before buying an ethernet cable tester. It will help you in picking up the right product for your use and saves you from wasting money on the wrong one.
Type Of Testers
1. Cable Verifiers: As the name suggests these testers are used to verify if there’s any kind of fault in the cables or not. And these are also the most common type of cable tester you’ll see around.
The verifier testers tell you about whether the cables are connected properly or not, it also gives information about short circuit, split pair, open wires, etc. So overall you can diagnose any kind of fault in your cables and wires using the verifier testers. However, these testers give no information about data communication.
2. Cable Qualifiers: These testers have all features that a verifier tester has. But it has one more feature which is missing from the verifiers and that is it can tell about the type or kind of data transmission a given cable supports. Apart from finding faults, these testers can also assist you in repairing your existing cables.
3. Cable Certifiers: These are the most advanced cable testers which are mostly used by network technicians and installers as it comes with a lot of advanced features that are required to ensure the perfect installation of the cables.
Build Design And Quality
The tester basically comes in two designs, the handheld portable unit, and the detachable unit. The handheld tester is a single device or tool while the detachable modular unit has two parts to it. The secondary part gets detached from the main device to give you more freedom for testing.
Also, the detachable unit comes with more features therefore you will see most of the powerful tester come in a detachable build design. However, the portable units are easier to operate and handle.
Apart from this, you should also check the build quality of the tester, so that it doesn’t break easily upon falling from your hands. If you have butterfingers then you can go with a tester that comes holding strap.
Moreover, the tester should not be too heavy either so that you can easily operate it for a long time. Also if you are looking for a tester for outdoor usage then make sure your tester is waterproof or at least water-resistant.
Network cables generally come with an RJ45 connector on both ends. So in order to test a network cable, your tester must have an RJ45 port. Apart from that, your tester should also support different ports like coaxial connector, RJ11 port, and especially the SC/SFP for testing fiber optic cables. However, a network testing tool with an RJ45 and SC/SFP compatibility is sufficient enough to solve all the network-related issues.
Ease Of Use
Testing a network cable is a technical task, however, some testers make it easier for even a novice to understand the issue in their network cable by showing the readings in a simpler way. While some testers only show reading in raw data which can be only decoded or understood by a professional. So, it is important that you pick an ethernet cable tester that is easy to use and understand.
The length of the network cable also plays a vital role while picking up a tester, as each tester has its own limitations. Some cable tester can only test shorter cables so you cannot use them to test long broadband lines. Thus, pick your tester wisely keeping your area of work in mind.
A Wired connection is a faster and more reliable way of network communication. However, unlike wireless connections, in a wired connection, we are always tethered by wires and cables. And no matter how good the cable is it is prone to damage due to various external and internal issues.
A damaged cable can severely affect the performance and speed of the connection so you should keep a good tester handy to easily check your cable for any faults and replace it as soon as possible to re-establish your connection.