Ideal Networks launches handheld industrial Ethernet network and cable tester
NaviTEK IE, a handheld network tester has been launched by IDEAL Networks. Designed for commissioning, preventative maintenance and troubleshooting of PROFINET Industrial Ethernet networks the tester also simplifies the process of testing both cabling and networks in industrial Ethernet networks that use the PROFINET protocol.
IDEAL Networks marketing director Tim Widdershoven explains how with one tester technicians can troubleshoot at any point in the network with better functionality than other testers on the market.
“With its compact, touch screen design, NaviTEK IE has been designed to be a more convenient and efficient alternative to using a laptop, while catering for the physical differences between industrial Ethernet cabling and other networks,” he says.
The tester includes a range of additional tools specific to the needs of industrial Ethernet, for instance, the system health check feature on NaviTEK IE enables frontline technicians to pinpoint potential issues before they become network failures and result in downtime.
Tim says preventative maintenance is the key to keeping industrial Ethernet applications profitable and efficient.
“Consider a bottling plant for example, a sensor that is operational but also generates errors could easily be overlooked however it could malfunction and result in factory downtime. With the health check feature, this is avoidable, as you can act on the problem when you see an ‘amber’ indication,” he says.
To help minimise cable faults as a result of network downtime, NaviTEK IE advanced wiremap tools allow users to automatically discover cable, network or device configuration, or faults, at the touch of a button. The tester uses Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) to provide accurate distance to fault data, testing every wire in the data cable, not every pair, to help isolate issues that other testers cannot find and can be customised to support standard and non-standard cabling configurations.
“Unlike cabling in a static office environment, these operations typically have constantly moving devices, such as robots, sensors or conveyors, connected to the network. This means there is an increased risk of sustaining damage,” Tim explains.
For copper cabling, using the RJ45 or M12 interfaces included with the NaviTEK IE kit, the tester displays the correct wiring colours for the protocol used, measures the cable length and determines where and what the cable fault is, including split pairs, opens, shorts and miswires.
Those testing fibre data cabling can use an optional SFP module to test different wavelengths, measure the optical RX power received and discover cable faults such as dirty connectors, breaks or bends that exceed specification limits.
Additional troubleshooting features include quick and easy discovery of incorrect device names, duplicate IP addresses, network latency issues and packet loss, and the ability to display and validate network node details quickly.
The NETMAP comparison tool can also perform a scan of the entire network to identify all active devices and save this for comparison to future NETMAPS.
With the device blink feature, hidden or poorly labelled devices can also be found quickly, even in incorrectly labelled networks, by using the NaviTEK IE to flash a specific device LED.
To prove the network has been commissioned successfully, NaviTEK IE also provides professional PDF or CSV reports that can be customised and shared with colleagues and clients using the free IDEAL AnyWare mobile app.