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Buyer's Guide
Network Troubleshooting
July 2022
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Network Team Lead at a mining and metals company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Well-suited for everything that a technician would want to do for testing an active network, and is the only device I have seen that can test 10 gigabit fiber
Pros and Cons
  • "The wireless aspect of it has been super valuable. The AirMagnet Survey feature is very useful for site surveys. For a long time, it used to be done on laptops, and now, we can do this simply on a handheld with one technician. The data automatically gets uploaded to the cloud so that our more experienced technicians can review the data and pull it into AirMagnet. This feature has saved tons of time. It's not easy to approximate the time saved, but for each survey, I'm taking a junior technician and getting him to do a role that a senior technician used to do. So, there is a cost-saving of at least 50%."
  • "One point of contention might be that when we were starting it up for the first time, there was a little bit of confusion about registration and getting the proper support plans applied. So, that could be more streamlined, but that's not uncommon in the industry."

What is our primary use case?

Initially, the primary use case was to troubleshoot and test 10 gigabit fiber. However, since then, we have mainly been using it for the ability to do wireless surveys on the device.

How has it helped my organization?

It is quite useful to have everything in one unit—from copper to fiber to wireless and all of the tests in between. Not having to carry multiple devices is very useful. It is a great feature of the tool.

We use the pre-programmed AutoTest feature in certain situations. It's capable of finding basic network problems very quickly. The key information is almost immediately presented to you with no messing around.

The AirMapper Site Survey app's ability to gather WiFi site survey data is fantastic. It does the exact job of what the bigger clients on the laptops do, but it does it a lot easier and a lot more streamlined. It is definitely better for the techs to not have to carry around the laptop to do that work.

We do use the Link-Live service. We've used it for looking at the data from a troubleshooting perspective in the cloud and for using that data in the AirMagnet tool on a laptop. Its ability to visualize key performance metrics is pretty good. It's better than some of the stuff that I've seen out there today in this kind of platform and small package. It is definitely a cut above everybody else.

Troubleshooting of problems has certainly been a lot more streamlined. It's able to gather a tremendous amount of data in a small amount of time for quick assessment. In addition, with more than half of our network department working remotely, it allows our onsite technicians to gather data very easily and have it uploaded to the cloud so that those of us who are not in the office can access that data immediately. We don't really use it much to validate any changes.

The ability to see into our network with one device affects the efficiency and the cost of our network troubleshooting. With AirMapper, there are definitely cost and efficiency savings. We have quite a large campus, and taking this one device and doing troubleshooting with that one device saves trips back to the office to get another tool if one was forgotten. Basically, it is all in one, so when you leave the office and go to the plant floor, you know that you're not going to have to go back and waste more time.

What is most valuable?

The wireless aspect of it has been super valuable. The AirMagnet Survey feature is very useful for site surveys. For a long time, it used to be done on laptops, and now, we can do this simply on a handheld with one technician. The data automatically gets uploaded to the cloud so that our more experienced technicians can review the data and pull it into AirMagnet. This feature has saved tons of time. It's not easy to approximate the time saved, but for each survey, I'm taking a junior technician and getting him to do a role that a senior technician used to do. So, there is a cost-saving of at least 50%.

It is the only device I've seen that can test 10 gigabit fiber at this point. Nothing else can test that. It is a very important feature to us. It was one of the driving features that led us to use it.

What needs improvement?

I don't really have any suggestions for improvement. Based on what is advertised and what we're using it for, it is not lacking anything that we would like it to do. It does everything that its little counterparts or little LinkRunners do, but it does a way better job at being able to do all things at once.

One point of contention might be that when we were starting it up for the first time, there was a little bit of confusion about registration and getting the proper support plans applied. So, that could be more streamlined, but that's not uncommon in the industry.

For how long have I used the solution?

We purchased EtherScope nXG in Q3 of 2021.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability and performance are spot-on for this type of tool in this type of realm. 

In terms of its users, six people potentially have access to this tool. Typically, one or two guys have taken it and kept it as their own.

How are customer service and support?

I handle the maintenance for these devices. I'm the one who's responsible for renewing the maintenance contract on these. We have not opened up any tickets or support for this product. 

From a sales perspective, everything has been great. They're very responsive and very good at keeping us up to date about what's going on, what options are available, and how everything breaks down. From a support perspective, I can't really comment because we haven't had the need to have any support interactions with them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had AirCheck G2 as well as a LinkRunner AT. Those are the devices that we used before EtherScope. We still use them but for very basic troubleshooting.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing can be a little bit high for a handheld tool, mostly because, potentially, people do not understand what's in the package. However, NetAlly offers great bundled deals. We got a significantly good deal by ordering a package of these devices that had a whole test kit together. So, while it's very high, the value is certainly there, and the vendor does offer value-added features to offset that cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We haven't evaluated anything other than what we've had previously. It just seemed like a natural progression to EtherScope nXG. There were no other vendors and no other tools that we even considered. We went after this one, and this was the one we wanted.

What other advice do I have?

There are not a lot of other tools in the industry that can do everything that this solution can do in one package. It's very well suited for pretty much everything that a technician would want to do for testing an active network. Whether it's a passive test to make sure of connectivity or whether it is doing more throughput tests or gathering basic information from the network, it does at all. If you're looking for something that can do all of these things in one, there's no tool that would probably come close to matching the ability that this tool has in terms of function, features, and ease of use.

Its learning curve is hard to quantify for us. We've been using LinkRunner type of tools since they were owned by Fluke Networks. So, we've grown up on this technology. We have LinkRunner from NetAlly and AirChecker from NetAlly. We have AirCheck G2 from NetAlly and now EtherScope nXG from NetAlly. So, the learning curve is hard to quantify because we've been growing with this product. For coming from AirCheck G2 to this one, there was no learning curve at all. Using the new feature of AirMapper was very straightforward as well. It was not a big deal for our technicians to figure that out on their own.

I would rate it an eight out of 10, and that's simply because it's sometimes cost-prohibitive depending on the industry you're in.

Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
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Buyer's Guide
Network Troubleshooting
July 2022
Get our free report covering NetAlly, NetAlly, NetAlly, and other competitors of LinkRunner. Updated: July 2022.
621,703 professionals have used our research since 2012.