Fluke uses OneTouch to tackle VoIP net testing

Mississauga, Ont.-based Fluke Networks Canada recently released OneTouch Series II Version 3.0 and NetTool Pro – new handheld tools to help network managers tackle switched and voice-over-IP (VoIP) networks.

Expanding on Fluke’s NetTool Connectivity Tester, NetTool Pro allows IT professionals to simultaneously analyze network services and PC configuration to detect common connectivity problems such as duplex mismatches and link speed. NetTool Pro can now discover key active network devices, list and ping them for connectivity, and create reports for base lining as well as PC configuration, the company said. In addition, OneTouch Version 3.0 can identify endpoints, servers and gateways, enabling even less experienced technicians to install a new IP phone or configure existing VoIP stations.

Brad Masterson, product manager at Fluke Networks Canada, said that in VoIP, of issue is finding where the end nodes are residing. “OneTouch can go in and figure out where the active node sits…that really helps the front line technician identify where the issue sees particular phone that shouldn’t be on that segment,” Masterson said. “OneTouch is suited for organizations that have some front line troubleshooters that maybe have a local responsibility where they want to offload some the work from the network engineer who’s often busy looking at upgrades, getting baselines of their network, and finding out where they should take the next step.” Both tools use Flash ROM so feature and accessory updates are easily downloaded, he added.

IT organizations will need new performance-enhancing tools as newer technologies such as VoIP take hold, noted Senior Analyst David St. Onge for Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo. Networks now have the capability to expand across larger physical areas – analysis and troubleshooting solutions such as these provide “the tools and education network technicians need in order to keep pace,” St. Onge said.

Yves Gauthier, regional manager for Ottawa-based Bell Canada ATS, noted while he would have liked to see its latest version feature continuous pinging and Media Access Control (MAC) address listing, NetTool Pro now has the capability to look at various network set-ups. Connectivity tests can be done at any network port, Gauthier said, which is helpful considering intelligent switches with different VLANs make it important to verify that the right port is located.

“What’s nice about it is that you can save the information that you have on the LAN, you can do your configuration and you can store the information when you come back to the office,” Gauthier said. “You can save it to your PC, print a copy, hand a copy to the customer which is really neat.”

Available now, pricing for NetTool Pro starts at $3,436. A NetTool Pro enhancement kit that adds ping and reporting features to any existing NetTool models is $928. OneTouch Series II starts at $7,730. Fluke Networks can be found at www.flukenetworks.com.