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97

Best Network Analyzer Tool (for the money)

Backstory: I have previously worked where there is access to Flukes pretty regularly. The current job, which I've been at for a couple years, does not have access to virtually any testing or analyzer tools. This makes life far less enjoyable, when a simple testing device could save so much headache. Add to that, I recently started moonlighting as a SMB MSP with a partner. Neither my day job, nor my business have tons of capital to spare, otherwise we would just buy the flukes.

I have searched the forum, and basically all the threads are 2-3 years old at this point. I figure much can happen in that time, so I am looking for recommendations here. We would want it to have CDP/LLDP, toning, IPerf would be awesome, basic reporting, Packet Capture and traffic would be even better.

The cheap low cost tools I have found thus far: Pockethernet - likely the one we will go with unless hear otherwise. shipping out of Europe only is kind of annoying, but I understand they are a smaller company. that also worries me as I don't want an orphaned product eventually

Netool.IO - didn't appear as feature rich, but close to the same price of the Pockethernet. Does seem to have wireless tools, which pockethernet doesn't seem to

Netpi - This is the option I think the coolest. I actually tried to turn this up to test. Unfortunately, the pi3 doesn't seem to like any of the images available. If anyone has been able to get this on a Pi3, that would be a big swing.I don't want to shell out $70 to buy a pi2, screen, case, etc plus effort to get it dialed in.

Others? thoughts? Insults about how ridiculous it is we don't have any kind of testing tool in an international company? Favorite Cake recipes?

43 comments
95% Upvoted
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Favorite Cake recipes?

What did the OSPF router say to the other OSPF router? Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello

ha ha ha ha... 1+

A+/N+/S+/CCNA
4 points · 2 days ago

ha ha ha.....im dead, find new path, calculate cost.

11 points · 2 days ago

Big fan of Netool.io here. We have 4 of them. ask away!

CCNP, CCNA/Sec, Sec/A/L+
8 points · 1 day ago

Hey, I'll work on getting a flavor spun up for the Pi3b or pi zero (probably the former for sake of screen unless I can integrate Bluetooth or something to a phone app). I'll make sure I reach back out once it's ready and available. Sorry about the lack of updates!

Original Poster4 points · 1 day ago

No worries, it's a free distribution so no right to complain. If you get it working on a pi3, that'd be great.

I already have the 3 and a screen, so I can build one fairly quick. I do have a software engineer friend looking at it as well to see if he can build a 3 image. If he does, I'll let you know.

Regarding Netpi, the last (most recent) comment on the project page http://blamethenetwork.com/netpi-2-update-beta-release/#comment-296

Also have you considered securing a budget and scouring CL/Ebay for good conditioned Flukes?

CCNP, CCNA/Sec, Sec/A/L+
7 points · 1 day ago

NetPi is my side project. I agree it's been a while since I've updated it but I deployed to kuwait for a year to sweat in the sun and also started a new job and had to make sure I could still work on intellectual property. More to follow on another update soon!

Original Poster3 points · 2 days ago

I actually thought about that. Anything worth much tends to be "auction", and then jumps up in the last few hours to 75% retail.

That's all 750, almost 4 times as much as the most expensive option.

Like you, I needed an inexpensive network tester and went with the PocketEthernet. I really like it! Does everything I want it to do, the battery life is excellent, and I love the apps ability to email reports with embedded pictures to myself. Wasn't crazy about the currency conversion, which added to the cost, but it arrived very quickly.

I like my Pockethernet. One thing I don't like is you have to seat cables into it VERY firmly for it not to report "miswire" when there really isn't a problem when doing a wiremap test.

It's nice being able to plug into a wall jack and interrogate the device on the other end via CDP/LLDP. It can send a tone but you'd need a separate probe to do wire location. No iPerf or packet capture, though a few people have requested the former as a feature enhancement.

I get wire mismatch so often it’s totally useless for testing cables.

CompTIA A+
6 points · 2 days ago

NetPi looks cool so far as it goes, but it also looks like a dead project. The newest article is from 2015.

CCNP, CCNA/Sec, Sec/A/L+
9 points · 1 day ago

So I'm actually the guy who put that together. It's on my to-do list... I just work for one of the big 4 tech companies and am in the military part time. Free time briefs well but is hard to find. Stay tuned! ;)

So I support several offices. For one we bought a Fluke (now NetScout) LinkRunner AT 2000, and I love it. LOVE IT.
But when I asked for a couple more for the other offices, I got shot down. At $1,600 (street price) a pop, it didn't fit in the budget. So I compromised and ended up getting a couple NetScout LinkSprinter 300s, and they're almost as good, for a fraction of the cost - $360 on Amazon.

The 300 model has built in wifi to act as your display. You fire it up, connect your phone to the LinkSprinter wifi network, then go to ui.linksprinter.com (web server hosted on the device). You can see all the info right there - and it speaks CDP and LLDP. And looking at the NetScout website, the 300 is the only model they make these days.

https://www.amazon.com/NETSCOUT-LSPRNTR-300-LinkSprinterDistanceIndication/dp/B00UD6G2OY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1488312126%20%20&sr=8-2&keywords=LSPRNTR-300

I also won a LinkSprinter 100 (not made anymore) that doesn't have wifi. That thing isn't nearly as useful because it'll only give you a full diagnostic report via email, and for that to work, the connection you're testing has to have internet access... so what's the point? :)

I agree! We have two of the Fluke LinkRunner AT 2000 kits and use them regularly. It is our go to tester of choice. We keep a set of basic tools in the kit bag as well. We can test or re-terminate as needed.

4 points · 2 days ago

Another vote for the LRAT 2000, I use mine almost every day, though I wish it did have at least basic WiFi tools. A friend recently purchased the NetScout AirCheck G2 and it seemed to have a lot of the same functions, plus WiFi so if I were buying something today I’d check it out more thoroughly.

4 points · 2 days ago

The LinkRunner G2 is awesome if you can afford it.

I've been interested in a Pocket Ethernet myself. It would definitely be worth a try from everything I'm seeing and have seen as far as reviews.

Pockethernet shop here, solid product to get you out of a pinch.

5 points · 2 days ago

Netscout does have the LinkRunner LRAT-1000, which is just under $1000 https://www.amazon.com/NETSCOUT-LRAT-1000-LinkRunner-Ethernet-Network/dp/B007B60F6A

I would do either the LRAT-1000 or the LSPRNTR-300.

5 points · 2 days ago

I was in the same pickle a while back, decided to go with pockethernet and man am I happy I did. Their support is beyond amazing, when I was finally going to use it for a work related project it didn’t turn on for the first time after playing around with it for 4months.

This was this week, I’m working in a fish proccessing plant that’s on their summer stop. The only 2 weeks a year the plant stops and I can map the network, I tell them it’s very urgent for me to get this resolved. Within 24hours of posting on their forums I had a new unit in my hands, they shipped it with ups express for no cost.

You can read the full story I posted on their forums here; https://forum.pockethernet.com/index.php?topic=312.0

1 point · 1 day ago

Oooh somehow I had never seen that device before. I'll have to order one on Monday.

Multicast for Broadcast
4 points · 2 days ago

These are interesting. Is there a pre-built device like this that can do a pcap in-line rather than having to set a monitor port on a switch? (Bonus points if it can pass PoE through)

CompTIA A+, N+, S+
2 points · 1 day ago

Packet Squirrel by Hak5, no PoE pass-through though.

Original Poster1 point · 2 days ago

Agreed, there has to be tools out there.

MSP Consultant
1 point · 2 days ago

Sure but the cost is eye watering.

Service Provider Architect
1 point · 2 days ago

EXFO do things like the 730G which can do 10G transmission testing and packet capture etc in hardware, but yeah, expensive. Higher end taps and monitors like the Netscout stuff exist too

3 points · 2 days ago

I LOVE MY POCKETETHERNET

Best $300 I've ever spent on computer equipment. I use it often, my boss has started borrowing it after refusing to pay for it a year ago.

3 points · 2 days ago

As someone who just paid full price to buy a brand new Fluke DSX-8000 that arrives on Monday, you don't need a Fluke. There are two reasons to pay for a Fluke:

  1. Branding

  2. Actual certified test results

You can get #2 from any number of used/refurbs from other brands. We have several Agilent Wirescopes that require some TLC but they work. We paid for the new Fluke because we subcontract for several national vendors such that our client list is essentially half the Fortune 500 list. We do cabling installs and service calls for them. Wally and their red brother, the two big pharmacies, Currency Colonel, etc. all require actual certifier results.

All the stuff you listed are network things, not cable things. All the network things you can do without a specially calibrated device, and it doesn't sound like you have a billion dollar company breathing down your neck.

2 points · 2 days ago

No free solutions? iperf/mtr?

I use iperf3 on my phone via a USB Type C gigabit NIC. Works really well. I have a Chinese no brand unit for just checking basic physical connections as well

More detail please

What do you need to know?

1 point · 1 day ago

Can you push/receive gigabit speeds on your phone? What USB modem? What phone?

Xiaomi Mi Note 2, USB Type C NIC (see ebay / amazon).... using "pingtools" app from the play store. Yes, it can do pretty close to gigabit, around 900mbit

At the moment my Mi Note 2 is out of action though, using a Redmi Note 4 at the moment which only does 300mbit or so with a USB NIC. Custom ROM by the way (LineageOS 14.1 / 15.1)

If you are going to do Netpi, you might as well throw kali on there.. gives you all the netpi stuff, plus you can run openvas for vulnerability scanning, do wifi attacks and a boat load of other goodies, throw a couple usb wifi's with promiscious mode on there and it gets fun...

Original Poster1 point · 1 day ago

I've toyed with this idea. I have a couple pentester friends who run Kali. I've thought about actually playing with Kali just to be familiar with all it's components. It seems to be a part big playground.

It can be overwhelming there are so many tools built in it.

1 point · 1 day ago

a colleague of mine has scripted around the tcpreplay to create a tool that we use often instead of traffic generators. monitoring not included, and work is required, but it's rewarding to have a tool that does better job then commercial generators. sure, we'd still use ixia per customer's request but internally this inhouse made thing is preferred way. i understand this is not exactly what you asked about but it is worth considering down the road, imho.

Hey there. Funnily a first world problem here as I got tired of lugging our Fluke around.

Have you ever heard of CDP4win? Just like it sounds, essentially you can get the same readout as a fluke on your laptop (assuming you have an Ethernet port) if you have CDP enabled. I love it.

packet wrangler
1 point · 2 days ago

This would require a bit more effort but why not write some simple scripts using scapy with python?

Original Poster1 point · 1 day ago

Biggest reason: I'm not very good at scripting. The time cost I would put in it to make it a worthwhile tool would far exceed any of the listed tools.

I have several software engineer friends I've thought about bouncing the idea off of to see what they can push out. However, they are limited on their knowledge of network systems and how to interact with them. Maybe in the future, but for now, semi-prebuilt is the way to go.

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