Networks Telecom: Tiny tool from Fluke

While voice is stretching networks, the tool supplier is shrinking testers into pockets - and came up with a positive spin on England's World Cup defeat

Despite the depression in the industry, LANs are still getting more complex, with VLANs and applications like voice on IP stretching the ability of network managers, according to Barry Lindsley, senior product manager of Fluke Networks. However, Fluke's big launch at the show is the pocket-or-belt mounted LinkRunner, a 100g network multimeter giving link length and ping information for £360. He was also the first to come up with a silver lining to England's defeat by Brazil on Friday: "At least this means people will be on the show floor on Wednesday, talking to us about our test tools, instead of watching the semi-finals." Based on polls at Fluke presentations, he reckons that in London around 10 percent of network managers have put voice on their LANs, and virtual LANs, which divide networks according to workgroup rather than connection are making a strong showing. Voice on the LAN can be a big cost saver, but can hurt a network manager's prospects if the quality is not good enough. "You need a powerful hardware analyst for voice," said Lindsley. "You need a good time stamp -- ours is around 25 microseconds, compared with 25 microseconds for tools based on NIC cards. We can make quality of service measurements on the fly." Down at the low end, LinkRunner should sort identify around half network problems, in the physical and link layers, he said. Fluke is hoping for awards at Networks Telecom, for both LinkRunner and its OptiView Workgroup Analyzer.

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