Test & Measurement

Enhanced SignalTEK 10G network tester and cable qualifier

30th April 2024
Harry Fowle

The TREND Networks SignalTEK 10G Network Throughput Tester and Cable Qualifier has undergone a series of major enhancements, introducing a suite of features aimed at simplifying operation, expanding functionalities, and improving overall user experience.

"As technology evolves, so do the challenges faced by network technicians,” explains Dan Barrera, Director of Product Innovation for TREND Networks. “Our latest enhancements to SignalTEK 10G underscore our dedication to simplifying complex testing processes, ensuring that users, regardless of experience, can achieve precise and dependable results in today's demanding network environments."

Putting the user first, SignalTEK 10G now offers users more intuitive options with the new Basic Operation mode. With the goal of streamlining Cable and Network Qualification testing, this option is tailored to accommodate both novice and experienced users, simply requiring a choice between copper and fibre and the speed the user wishes to qualify, ranging from 10Mbps to 10Gbps for copper (including 2.5 and 5Gbps Multigig), and 1Gb or 10Gb for fibre.

Several SFP updates have also been included in the recent enhancements. Streamlining fibre testing for network technicians, SignalTEK 10G now supports data transmission testing at 1G and 10G using a single 10G SFP+ module, removing the need for separate SFP modules for varying fibre speeds.

Negating the need for an expensive Optical Loss Test Set (OLTS), the addition of fibre length and dB Loss measurement via SFP/SFP+ modules in SignalTEK 10G sets a new standard for qualification testers. This enhancement enables fibre qualification based on data transmission (BERT), cable attenuation (dB loss), and cable length, adhering to IEEE Ethernet, TIA, or ISO cabling standards.

TREND Networks has listened to its users and also simplified the interface management on SignalTEK 10G. Users can now also toggle the active interfaces in the remote handset between RJ45 and SFP seamlessly without having to remove the fibre SFP, further preventing loss of the module. The active interface preference is retained, even after a reboot.

“Configuring testers to operate on Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) can be confusing at the best of times,” says Barrera. However, VLAN detection and Top 10 VLAN bandwidth monitoring have now been integrated into SignalTEK 10G, allowing for easy configuration and operation on detected VLANs.

“Simply plug into a network port and active VLAN numbers and broadcast traffic (Mbps) will be displayed,” he continues. “Tapping a VLAN on the displayed list not only configures the main handset to operate on that VLAN for transmission testing, but automatic Smart configuration of the remote makes SignalTEK 10G one of the easiest testers for use on networks that deploy VLANs. This innovation simplifies network testing and monitoring on VLANs, an essential feature in modern large-scale networks.”

TREND Networks is dedicated to saving you time and money on the jobsite. With this in mind, SignalTEK 10G is now able to detect open/short cables with distance-to-fault on the Ethernet testing port, rather than the wiremap port. This facilitates efficient fault-finding for field switch network engineers and reduces steps needed to assess cable length and connections.

In addition, the SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) for each copper pair at 1/2.5/5/10Gbps is now colour-coded (green/yellow/red) for quick multi-gigabit rate copper link performance verification. The device also boasts enhanced support for RJ45 SFP modules, improved PoE load test accuracy, and faster onboard PDF report generation.

When testing fibre, the incoming power to the main and remote handset SFP modules is displayed with colour coding to warn users when the incoming power is lower than expected for 1G or 10G modules. This simple, yet effective feature provides a clear visual indication when a link may have excessive loss, even before running a test on said link.

“These upgrades reinforce TREND Networks' Depend On Us commitment to providing cutting-edge network testing equipment with user-centric solutions. The SignalTEK 10G tester’s enhanced capabilities aim to empower technicians, streamline operations, and ensure maximum network performance,” concludes Barrera.

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