Fluke Networks has unveiled the MicroScanner PoE to speed the installation and troubleshooting of Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices including those supporting the new high power 802.3bt standard, which was ratified in September of 2018. The tester, which can verify and troubleshoot Ethernet cabling, displays a simple indication of the class of power available as reported by the switch in accordance with the Ethernet Alliance designations. This information indicates if sufficient power is available for the device in question.

MicroScanner PoE capabilities

  • Quickly determine if a problem is caused by a bad or unconnected cable, insufficient power, or a Powered Device (PD)
  • Information for the Network Engineer to investigate potential switch configuration or malfunctions
  • PoE Switch Verification - Determine if a switch port can provide enough power by reporting PoE class (0-8)
  • Powered Pairs - Graphically identifies powered pairs. Including Dual Signature where the switch port delivers power on 2 or 4 pairs (802.3bt or PoE ++)
  • PoE Injector verification - Display injector voltage level
  • Active Switch Detection - Determine if a cable is connected to a switch port and port speed up to 10G
  • Cable Testing - Identify any shorted, open or crossed wires at both ends, length of each pair, and send tones to find cables.
  • Validate and troubleshoot the Industrial Ethernet copper cabling

Standardized implementations

PoE provides substantial cost, efficiency and flexibility benefits, sparking an explosion of powered devices such as cameras, access points, and displays, along with switches to support them. Unfortunately, the term “PoE” is not defined by any standard and a wide variety of standardized and somewhat-standardized implementations are available. Even more confusing, multiple standards, multiple power levels, a variety of non-standardized names such as “PoE+”, “PoE++”, and other designators are used.

The result is that it’s difficult even for experts to know what devices will work together. The Ethernet Alliance launched a certification program to end this confusion. Power levels and requirements are designated by a number from zero to eight indicating the amount (or “class”) of power sourced or required.

Slow access points

The MicroScanner PoE also provides a complete set of tools for the technician installing PoE and non-PoE devices

Technicians need to simply ensure that the class number of the source is equal to or greater than the class of the powered device. When connected to a PoE switch, the MicroScanner PoE will display the maximum power class indicated by the switch, making it easy for the tech to know if the switch and device are compatible.

The MicroScanner PoE also provides a complete set of tools for the technician installing PoE and non-PoE devices. Cable wiremapping, a built-in toner, and distance-to-fault indicators can track down cabling problems quickly. When connected to a live switch port, the unit displays the speed of the port up to 10 Gbps, especially useful for troubleshooting slow access points. Cable identifiers can be used to track which cable goes where.

Category cabling requirements

“Ensuring quality installations of a PoE network is a three-step process,” according to Harley Lang, RCDD, Director of Marketing for Fluke Networks.

“First, designers should use EA PoE certification to ensure their selected equipment will work together. Second, the cabling installation should be certified to meet not only the category cabling requirements, but also the resistance measurements that are critical to PoE. Third, techs should be outfitted with tools such as the MicroScanner PoE so they can ensure they’re properly connected to devices which can supply the necessary power.”

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