Upgrade gives tester more diagnostics, languages

The latest upgrade to Micro-ztest's (www.microtest.com) OMNIScan-ner2 handheld cabling tester and the associated Scanlink Tools software gives the product additional testing capabilities, as well as more language options

Compiled by Patrick McLaughlin

The latest upgrade to Micro-ztest's (www.microtest.com) OMNIScan-ner2 handheld cabling tester and the associated Scanlink Tools software gives the product additional testing capabilities, as well as more language options.

With the upgrade, the OMNIScanner series now supports noise measurements. Using a proprietary algorithm, the tester captures and counts noise impulses of a magnitude that may affect network operation on any of the four wire pairs, keeping a log and time-stamping each event as it occurs. The function is used to diagnose the presence and severity of external noise sources that may have an impact on network performance.

An audible tone generator sends a warbling tone compatible with common induction probes so that wires can be traced behind walls or ceiling panels, or in wire bundles or punchdown locations in wiring closets.

The upgrade also includes full support for the OMNIFiber Singlemode adapter-a laser-based 1,310- and 1,550-nm fiber-optic network certification tool. It provides length and loss measurements on singlemode fiber-optic systems using dual-wavelength testing in both directions.

Also through the recent upgrade, OMNIScanner series testers, as well as the PC software companion Scanlink Tools, now support nine languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Kanji (Japanese), traditional Chinese, and simplified Chinese. Scanlink software provides certification reports and all operating and user interface aspects in these languages.

"International markets are key growth areas for us in 2001," says David Coffin, general manager of Microtest's Network Test and Measurement division. "Our new comprehensive native language implementations in Kanji, traditional Chinese, and simplified Chinese address a significant obstacle to customer acceptance of network testers in these areas. China and Japan are very large and quickly growing networking markets. Our support of foreign languages is consistent with our recent office openings in Mexico, Brazil, China, and our planned offices in Australia and Japan."

Cable and connectivity makers form alliances

Several makers of cable and connectivity hardware used the BICSI conference held last month in Las Vegas, NV as the stage on which to announce cabling-system partnerships.

The Superior Essex Communica-tions Group of Superior Telecom (www.superioressex.com) announced that ADC's (www.adc.com) Entera-prise connectivity products are part of the PerformaChannel system series. The series includes systems that exceed the performance of Category 5E and draft Category 6 specifications, according to Superior Essex. Other connectivity makers teaming with Superior Essex in the program are Hubbell Premise Wiring and Leviton Voice and Data Systems.

Intertek Testing Service/ETL Labs (www.itsqs.com) has verified the PerformaChannel systems, according to Superior Essex. And the testing organization will continue to verify the systems on a quarterly basis.

The program has two levels: Category 5E+ and Category 6+. Systems in the first level must exceed the Category 5E channel specifications for power-sum attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio, power-sum equal-level far-end crosstalk, and return loss by at least 5 dB. Systems in the second level must exceed the current draft Category 6 channel specifications in those same characteristics by at least 3 dB.

Another partnership announced at the BICSI conference involves Molex Premise Networks (www.molexpn.com) and The Draka Companies, Chromatic Technologies and Helix/HiTemp Cables (www.drakausa.com). The combined systems, called Draka Molex Cabling Systems, carry a 25-year application-assurance and product warranty.

"Traditionally, warranty programs have encompassed cabling components tested within the confines of the manufacturer," says William Dungan, general manager of Helix/HiTemp. "Our cabling system encompasses all the cabling products and connectivity hardware verified by a third-party independent laboratory for compliance with the latest standards.

"This verification program includes ongoing testing and provides extensive test data of the components to assure strict compliance to the most up-to-date industry specifications."

Wi-Fi certification list grows

In late April, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA-www.wi-fi.org) awarded 14 Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) certifications for wireless networking product interoperability. Those certifications brought the total to 93 certified products in the Wi-Fi program that WECA initiated last March.

"This is a record number of Wi-Fi certifications," says WECA vice chairman David Cohen. "Companies seeking product certification represent a broad range of interests. Some of these certifications are coming from companies seeking their first Wi-Fi certification. However, many of these certifications are being awarded to companies that already have Wi-Fi-certified products."

Most products that gained certification in April were either network cards or access points. Testing for the Wi-Fi certification is carried out at Agilent Technolo-gies' Silicon Valley Networking Lab.

"We have seen a complete set of industry players, from chip producers to integrated manufacturers and consumer product companies, put significant effort behind introducing Wi-Fi products," Cohen continued. "We expect continued growth of Wi-Fi wireless LANs now that the industry is producing products based on a single wireless LAN standard in the 2.4-GHz band."


This column covers various industry-related topics.
To submit a news item, contact Chief Editor

Patrick McLaughlin
Tel: (603) 891-9222,
fax: (603) 891-0587,
or e-mail: patrick@pennwell.com.


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