All of the features are important.
Quick network diagnostics: I could plug it into a network and within a minute – actually, less than a minute; about 15-30 seconds – it tells me if it can get an IP address, if it can get to the gateway, if it can't get out to the internet. If I have a smart switch, it will even tell me which port I'm plugged into.
Improvements to My Organization
It depends on what the problem was. Let's say a user couldn't get out to the internet. I could unplug the cable from the back of their computer, and plug the Fluke in. Again, it's going to give me whether or not I can connect to the internet or not, so it breaks down whether it's the computer or the cable. If it is something with the cabling, it can even tell me if there's a break in the cable, and how far down the cable it is. If it makes it to the switch, I could tell what port it's plugged into; so simple things, too. If I go in a room and they want to find out what switch something is plugged into for whatever reason, I could plug the LRAT into the wall, into a port, and it's going to tell me if it's plugged into a switch, and what port it's plugged into.
It interacts well with other Fluke products. It even has a cloud component to it, so if I do a scan on a network I plug into a jack, it's going to give me all this information on the screen, but it's also going to send me an email and it's also going to post it to the cloud. If I'm working on one client and I'm troubleshooting a lot of cabling ports, I can go through, run the test, run the test. I'm not taking notes; I'm not having to jot things down into an Excel spreadsheet or anything. I can just test, test, test, test, and then at the end of the day, I can actually go online and print out a report of all the ports I tested, where they're plugged into the switch, and give it to the client.
Use of Solution
I have an LRAT and I've been using it for two years.
I have 120 accounts and my largest account has 500 users.
With the LRAT, I have not encountered any stability issues. With my Fluke OneTouch, I did encounter stability issues. I had quite a few problems with that at one point and I had to contact Fluke support, which is very good, by the way. It took a little while to resolve it, but it was resolved and it was a problem with the programming. They took care of it, and now it works great again.
The one problem had to do with this one site which is a very large site. I know they take care of a smaller component of it, but it's tied into about 27 sites across the country. When I was doing a scan with the OneTouch, previously it worked fine. I was trying to troubleshoot something. It's a TV station; they do a lot of streaming, so there's a lot of traffic on the wire. It started crashing, so I contacted Fluke, we opened a case and we got it resolved. They pretty much stayed on top of it.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Technical support is 9/10. It’s not cheap, but it is good, the turnaround time. The problem I had was a very unique issue, and it did take a little while to get it resolved. A couple times there was a holiday in the middle there, so it got dropped a couple times, but they stayed on top of it.
I was using a JDSU, which can do some network troubleshooting. It's good for testing cable, it tells you if you can get out to the internet, but when we started getting into more and more smart switches, more and more higher end equipment, it wasn't as useful. I would constantly be having to break out my laptop to pick up the slack.
It's very easy to set up, but along with everything else, you have to be able to interpret the results, although this is pretty straightforward. It can get out to the internet, but it helps if you have some networking experience. If you have any networking experience at all, this thing would be very easy to set up.
Other Solutions Considered
There's not a whole lot on the market that is comparable to Fluke products, in my opinion, anyway. It's really hard to compare apples to apples. Fluke makes a good product that is rather unique in the marketplace, in my opinion. It does a really good job, it's not cheap. That's one of the drawbacks, too. I've gotten now to where I've changed my billing scale for when I bring out Fluke equipment for troubleshooting, to help compensate for the expense of it.
Purchase the support. It's very easy to implement, as I’ve mentioned. If you've got some basic background in networking, TCP/IP, it's very easy to implement. Basically the meter, you turn it on and plug it in. Just plug it into a network and it's going to give you some information. What you do with that information, though, is where having some experience with networking comes in handy.
I've been very happy. It has gotten me some jobs, because I've been able to come in a troubleshoot things that no one else has been able to.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Oct 09 2016