LinkRunner OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

LinkRunner is the #6 ranked solution in top Network Troubleshooting tools. PeerSpot users give LinkRunner an average rating of 8.4 out of 10. LinkRunner is most commonly compared to NetAlly EtherScope nXG: LinkRunner vs NetAlly EtherScope nXG. LinkRunner is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 67% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a government, accounting for 15% of all views.
LinkRunner Buyer's Guide

Download the LinkRunner Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2022

What is LinkRunner?

Network connectivity test for twisted pair and fiber optic Ethernet links at 10, 100 and Gigabit rates. Verify twisted pair Ethernet cable length and wiremap with the Ethernet tester

LinkRunner Customers

Philips Healthcare, HCA Healthcare, University of South Dakota, Memorial Hermann, Baltimore County Public Schools, Aaramrak.

LinkRunner Video

LinkRunner Pricing Advice

What users are saying about LinkRunner pricing:
  • "Its pricing is all right. Of course, from the business point of view, the cheaper it is, the better it is, but I prefer to spend a bit more money to get a quick response, which is helpful especially when we are onsite or in a very critical situation. We are not only paying for the product. We are paying for the people behind the product in terms of developers and technical support. When you need some help, they will be behind it, and they'll support you. There are no additional costs other than the standard licensing fee."
  • "It's reasonably priced in my market. It provides good value for money. The device is competitively priced as compared to other solutions. It gives you a lot of functionality and saves you a lot of time and resources. I see it as a good buy and good value for money. I stand for it."
  • "They offer one price. I do like paying for support because I get software updates that way."
  • "The cost of this device is very expensive, especially with the NetAlly Care on top of the costs. It is not for personal use and would be very expensive for smaller businesses."
  • "The 10Gig ones are quite expensive, and we have only two of them, but I know that this option was cheaper than the other 10Gig option we looked at, and we're very happy with it."
  • "Compared to another company's product, LinkRunner is cheaper, but it's still about $1,000 too expensive, considering that the operating system is a free operating system. The OS has just been tweaked to give you a graphical interface. I don't think it's priced right."
  • "I would buy another one if I had a chance but they're too expensive. If they made it a bit cheaper, I think a lot of network engineers and network administrators would immediately jump onto it."
  • "It's an expensive device. Don't expect it to be cheap. But the pricing is good. It certainly seemed in line with anything else I was looking at at the time."
  • LinkRunner Reviews

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    BAI QING - PeerSpot reviewer
    Technical Director at SystemEngineer360 Pte. Ltd.
    Real User
    Top 10
    Streamlines workflows, saves a lot of time, and makes troubleshooting and performance testing easy
    Pros and Cons
    • "LinkRunner 10G is very handy for onsite troubleshooting and implementations. We can quickly identify the links in terms of 1G, 2.5G, 5G, and 10G on the copper side, and also from 1G up to 10G on the fiber side. It is very handy for me because we deal with a lot of banks. Especially for the provisioning of new services, we use this tool to identify the link capacity and do the necessary testing to ensure all the circuits are ready before the handover to the next team to operate the technology. This is something that saves a lot of time as compared to the old days."
    • "It is a great tool, but in the long-term, they can make its processor more powerful to do more functions. They can upgrade the hardware to make it run faster and more efficiently from the process point of view. That'll be beneficial because the technology is evolving and the network traffic is going higher and higher. We have to leverage better spec products to handle the traffic load."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a system integrator, and we do lots of infra projects. It is a handheld device, and we are using it in a couple of scenarios. We use it for onsite troubleshooting and implementation. We also use it for performance testing. These are two major use cases. There are also other scenarios where some of its minor features are helpful.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I'm the owner of the company, and for me, my workflow is most valuable. Without such a tool, I have to spend time training engineers. If there are junior engineers, I have to tell them what are the necessary steps to do onsite testing, but doing that doesn't guarantee a standard workflow because different people interpret information and instructions in different ways, and also the way each engineer works is different. To check that something is working, some engineers might take extra steps to verify all the way to the application, web servers, and so on, whereas some engineers would just do the ping test. When I'm not on the site, I cannot see everything. With such a tool, we are able to have an SOP for troubleshooting. If any engineer goes outside to do troubleshooting or anything else, everything is standardized. All the reports are clear, and everyone follows the same steps. This makes everything very easy for us. If an engineer makes a mistake, the cost or damage is quite significant for us because we are dealing with the production network or live network. It is not a lab network where if you're not happy, you can shut down the server or network. In an actual customer environment, we have to be very careful. This is where LinkRunner proves helpful. It helps with SOPs and also saves a lot of time. With this tool, we can easily get a standardized process. With a single click, our engineers can get all the testing done. It also makes things easier for the management with the onsite activity reports, performance reports, and test results. It is easier to understand what they did and ensure that they really did their job, which saves time. It improves the quality of our jobs and provides a more efficient way of doing them.

    It is helpful for performance testing. I have another tool called Cisco NSG, which is a wire and a Wi-Fi version compared to LinkRunner 10G. Recently I was helping one of the customers in Singapore, but their remote office is in Malaysia. When they ran the telco circuits between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, they complained about the users experiencing slowness, but nobody knew what was going on and why it was slow. I set up a point-to-point link, and what we experienced was really awesome. The Singapore site was using StarHub as the carrier, and the Malaysia site was using Telekom Malaysia as the local carrier. When the traffic crossed two different carriers, a carrier only did the testing for its own boundaries. In other words, if you want to do an end-to-end test function to Malaysia or vice versa, there is no proof of testing to tell if I have a private line with full megabits per second and what the performance looks like. Is there any packet loss or delay? There is no such report. Initially, as a typical user, if I feel something is slow, I would most probably think that the network is slow, and the telco is not good, but when we launched the test from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, everything was working fine in terms of the format. There was no packet loss, and this clearly gave a very good indication to the customer that it is not really due to the network, and they have to look into the application layer problems. This is the kind of issue we identify. The old-school style of doing a continuous ping from end-to-end is not really good enough, especially for such bidirectional traffic verification. It is very helpful there.

    Similarly, we have another client, which is a US company, and they have a very big presence in Singapore. They have a big campus, a big office, and a colo data center. They have 10G end-to-end from all different campuses to the data center, office to the colo, and office to the campus. It came to the same question of how to ensure that the telco gives the 10G connectivity between different sites. This is another scenario where we used LinkRunner 10G with Cisco NSG. We do the end-to-end performance test, which gives a customer a lot of confidence to say that based on the testing results, they are convinced that the circuit is really up to the standard. From there, they can do more benchmarking for the QoS strategy. Traditional QoS testing is based on certain assumptions, but with such end-to-end testing, as an engineer, it is much easier for me to do the design based on traffic utilization. It helps customers a lot, and as their consultant or as their professional service partner, we are showcasing how we leverage the technology and tools to easily troubleshoot and make it faster for them to go live with their projects. In both these scenarios, it has been really helpful for customers. It saves their time. Even though things have opened up a bit after the COVID lockdown, it has not been easy to travel everywhere to do the outside work. We can ship LinkRunner 10G to the site and the customer can just hook it up on the network. We can then do remote control and all the necessary tests. It has made life much easier.

    We do different types of projects. For instance, nowadays, we do lots of WiFi projects. From the WiFi vendor perspective, they are pushing WiFi 6 technology with m-gig switches, UPOE switches, and so on. Customers often ask why it is necessary to invest in a high-cost switch with m-gig and UPOE, and if they do invest, how can they validate this. Every cent spent by an IT department is scrutinized by the finance department. So, they want to make sure that whatever they have invested in the infra can do the job. This is where we use the tool and connect to the switch to validate whether they are really running as expected. Especially when they hook up with WiFi access AP and m-gig technologies, we need to validate the aggregated speed at which the AP can go. This is one of the scenarios where we have helped quite a number of customers.

    We have also been supporting some banking customers, especially the server teams, for the link-level testing. They need to have a 10G connectivity from the server to the switch, but sometimes, due to certain limitations, they aren't able to get the speed that they want. It commonly leads to a situation where the server team starts to point the finger at the networking team thinking that their network switch is not really able to support a certain speed for their server to be able to run all the applications. This is another scenario where LinkRunner is helpful. If the customer has a certain link requirement or connectivity speed requirement, we can use LinkRunner to validate the servers and switches and make sure that everything is working well before they connect to each other. This is how we ensure that everybody is using the same tools to validate, and there are no variations in terms of the different testing standards so that everybody is convinced. This is a good tool to have a standard workflow so that there is no misunderstanding and miscommunication.

    Usually, it is used for brownfield or greenfield deployments, but it has also been helpful for mature networks. Recently, I went to one of the major data center operators in Singapore, and their pain point was that they don't know how those infra switches are connected. They used another vendor, and their vendor walked away after a number of years. There were no updated documents. A lot of information was not updated. They engaged us as a consultant to have a better understanding of their environment, inventories, and connectivity. We leveraged the discovery feature of LinkRunner to get the visibility of all the infra in the data center. We could also log into those devices through the LinkRunner device. Instead of carrying the laptop with LinkRunner and multiple tools with different consoles, we could do everything with LinkRunner.

    It is a very effective tool. LinkRunner runs on the Android platform. So, I can push a lot of tools or apps on it through the Link-Live cloud. I once went on a customer site to do some troubleshooting, and I could launch Cisco WebEx on LinkRunner and I could share the screen. So, anybody who joined the session remotely could see how I troubleshoot. I have done this twice to train my junior engineers, and at the same time, the customer also sees how I am troubleshooting. It has totally changed the traditional way of troubleshooting in a data center where we had to bring tools to the data center and use a phone to take a photo. Some data centers are very strict, and we are not allowed to bring any cameras in. So, I had to take screenshots. Later on, I had to save those screenshots into proper files and recall what I'd done and which pictures I'd captured. With LinkRunner and its integrated tools, I can just launch Cisco WebEx. I can have a video call, or I can have a voice call over the unit. I can share the screen so that everybody can watch it. Some people can give a better suggestion, which could help in resolving a problem faster. I usually joke that in the old days, it was more like a solo process, and now, it is a collaborative way of troubleshooting, especially in a very complicated environment.

    Troubleshooting-wise, it is pretty handy for me. Laptops have many types of software, but there are lots of limitations with laptops. I prefer to use specific tools. For example, when we do the infra project for certain government agencies and banks, there is no way we can log into the device. We are not authorized to log into the device. With LinkRunner, I can connect to the switch without logging. I can easily get information without logging into the device. I can get information about the switch hostname, the VLAN, the port I'm connected to, and the speed mode. I had a customer, which is a US company, and they had two Cisco switches. They wanted me to take a look at their settings, but the local guy didn't have the privileges to log into the equipment. So, I just connected LinkRunner to the unit, and from there, I could get all the information about the switch host, management IP, the port and the VLAN I'm connecting to, etc. I could get information about whether PoE is enabled. I could get all this information without logging in.

    By using this tool, I could identify a customer issue within just five minutes. One of their switches was a one gig box, but it was hard coded with 100 Mbps. When I asked them, the customer recalled reducing the speed to avoid an issue that they were facing. This is the beauty of the tool. I have been in the IT industry long enough. In the old days, we had to log into the switch, and we had to use a lot of show command filters to get the information we wanted, which took time, whereas this tool significantly saves time. When we are dealing with customers, it is not about whether you can or cannot fix a problem like in the old days. It is about how quickly you can fix the problems. People have less and less patience. We can fix the issues without such tools, and lots of experienced engineers still can do it, but using such a tool significantly accelerates the troubleshooting process.

    It has reduced the troubleshooting time, especially in a campus network and data center network, by 30%. It has made our networking staff more productive.

    From a testing point of view, it is good enough. A lot of enhanced features can be applied. Sometimes, when we do greenfield installation, we need to do all the necessary testing and reporting. We are not doing the cabling work, but after the cabling contractors finish the work, we need to verify the connectivity to the switch. We have to go to every individual port, do the test, and document all the port IDs, location information, testing date, etc. This is where we leverage LinkRunner. It is much easier than in the old days when we had two engineers: one carrying the laptop and the other one carrying an A4 paper for writing. After that, we would put everything into Excel and print it out, which is not effective. LinkRunner integrates with Link-Live. So, the information about everything you are testing is available online on the cloud. You can generate a very nice report for the end-users, which is a really significant improvement. It saves a lot of time and prevents human errors. Sometimes, the engineer is in a rush, and a handwritten document is not that easy to interpret. After a while, they might not recognize a number written down, and they have to go back to check again. With such a tool, all this rework can be eliminated.

    The test results can be automatically uploaded to the Link-Live Cloud Service. I prefer to save everything on Link-Live, but sometimes, because of customer restrictions, we need to have a local copy. With Link-Live, even if you don't have internet connectivity, you can save the results locally, and the next time you have internet connectivity, it will push all the results to Link-Live. It is helpful for me because after my engineers finish a job and upload the result to Link-Live, I can log in to the portal from anywhere to take a look at the result and understand the problems. Sometimes, I also put some comments when I upload the data to Link-Live. It optimizes my time. We have so many projects running concurrently, and I cannot follow engineers everywhere to do the work. Link-Live is a way to help me to understand my staff's productivity in the field. I can see the real-time results and understand the environment. It gives me a lot of visibility and productivity improvement. 

    What is most valuable?

    LinkRunner 10G is very handy for onsite troubleshooting and implementations. We can quickly identify the links in terms of 1G, 2.5G, 5G, and 10G on the copper side, and also from 1G up to 10G on the fiber side. It is very handy for me because we deal with a lot of banks. Especially for the provisioning of new services, we use this tool to identify the link capacity and do the necessary testing to ensure all the circuits are ready before the handover to the next team to operate the technology. This is something that saves a lot of time as compared to the old days.

    It is easy to use. I'm quite experienced in the industry, and I find it easy to use, but even when I passed the unit to my engineer or the intern students from the college, they spent less than half an hour figuring out how to use it. It is pretty easy to use. They didn't have any training. I just gave them the unit that we were going to use for the project, and I gave the user manual to them. Just by flipping through the user manual, they learned how to use it for basic functions and what features it has.

    What needs improvement?

    It is a great tool, but in the long-term, they can make its processor more powerful to do more functions. They can upgrade the hardware to make it run faster and more efficiently from the process point of view. That'll be beneficial because the technology is evolving and the network traffic is going higher and higher. We have to leverage better spec products to handle the traffic load.

    Buyer's Guide
    LinkRunner
    November 2022
    Learn what your peers think about LinkRunner. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    It has been a year. I have been using it since June of last year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is quite stable. I have never seen any issues with this one.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is able to meet our needs. It is being used extensively in our organization.

    How are customer service and support?

    They are very efficient and skilled. They respond very fast. I get a response for any technical issue in about an hour and sometimes, even within an hour. Their support is really impressive. I also deal with Cisco, Fortinet, Palo Alto, and other major vendors' tech support. They're nice. Even though NetAlly is not a major brand, their support engineers are really good. I have been impressed with them every time. I would rate them a ten out of ten.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I used LinkRunner AT and LinkRunner G2. LinkRunner AT is a bit older model. LinkRunner G2 is not that old, but it only goes up to 1G. It cannot do 10G or higher speed.

    How was the initial setup?

    It is easy.

    What was our ROI?

    We are a system integrator, and we have seen an ROI in terms of giving lots of services.

    In terms of the cost of the solution versus its ability to save time or solve problems faster, I am satisfied with what I am getting. This product is a part of my service offering. Every time I go to a customer, I take it with me in my bag. It is very important. I have a few projects that I can't do with other tools. For instance, I had a data center customer. They had four switches that were just too old, and nobody had information about these switches. I brought LinkRunner 10G to the site, and I just connected the equipment to the switch. I could get all the information about the model of the switch and its settings in terms of management IP, etc. It is helping a lot. Without it, it could take half a month to get the login credential from the management. With this, there is no need for that. The customer allowed us to connect to the device for viewing information, and in less than half an hour, I could get all the information I needed.

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

    Its pricing is all right. Of course, from the business point of view, the cheaper it is, the better it is, but I prefer to spend a bit more money to get a quick response, which is helpful especially when we are onsite or in a very critical situation. We are not only paying for the product. We are paying for the people behind the product in terms of developers and technical support. When you need some help, they will be behind it, and they'll support you. 

    There are no additional costs other than the standard licensing fee. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I didn't really evaluate other products.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is quite easy to use. It can do much more than what most people think. So, I would suggest having more information, not only about the product itself but also about what you want to achieve with this product. Once you combine your own knowledge and your experience with your or your customer's infrastructure, it will make the work easier.

    It provides fast results, but it also depends on the kind of test you are running. It is quite fast for a generic auto test, such as a ping test and pulse scan, but certain tests, such as network discovery, require lots of computing power and resources. When you do the polling of the SNMP-enabled devices, it might take a bit longer, but there is no other tool in the world that can do similar things. So, I'm quite okay with the speed.

    I would rate it a ten out of ten. I'm very satisfied with it. It is handy, easy to use, and very comprehensive. It has helped me in standardizing my team's workflow. It is now a part of our troubleshooting workflow. Without it, we will still be doing things in the traditional ways where we need two people onsite: one person doing the test, and the other person just doing the recording.

    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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    PeerSpot user
    Jesse_B - PeerSpot reviewer
    Manager of networks and infrastructure at a government with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Impressive ease of use, gives comprehensive results in seconds, and saves a lot of time and resources
    Pros and Cons
    • "I've found the VLAN test feature to be most valuable. That's because not many devices do VLAN tests. Normally, I have to send a center technician to check a line and see if it's alive. If it's working, then I have to send a network technician out to log into a switch and see which port it's on and on which VLAN that port is. That's two persons and two separate visits. This device does all of this in a matter of seconds, and that has saved me a lot of time, troubleshooting, and resources."
    • "One of the things I'd like to see in future versions of LinkRunner is a wireless dongle embedded into the product so that I don't need to have a separate wireless dongle. It should be built into that."

    What is our primary use case?

    I have LinkRunner G2, and I use this product for testing and troubleshooting. I am able to test my network connections and cables and do general troubleshooting for network drops, network outlets, etc. 

    I do connectivity tests and cable verification, and I use it to do network link tests to check network drops and know whether it's alive or not alive, and if it is alive, which services are available. This tool does that quite well. It tells me if my link is alive, and not just that, if it is a switch, I get the model information of the switch and whether PoE is being delivered on the switch or the wire. I get the DNS server, and I get the IP address. It also checks if there is internet access on that line. If there's a VLAN, it gives me the VLAN number. It does quite a lot of tests in a very quick time. It saves me a lot of time. I don't have to run around and troubleshoot one thing after another.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's very useful to me. Normally, I have to send a network specialist onto a site to do network tests because it requires a certain amount of expertise to log into a switch and check the services and VLAN information. Now, with this tool, I can send a technician who's already on site and already available, and that technician can simply plug this in and run the tests that are pre-configured on this device. The technician would have a lot of information to work with and know exactly where the problem is, what services are available, and whether the internet is there or not. If it's not there, the technician can give me the IP address that he or she is getting, and I can figure out what I need to do on my end without having to send a network specialist. This has saved me a lot of time. In the healthcare industry, in which work, time is of the essence. Hospitals need to be up and running, and I don't always have a network specialist available because it's a scarce resource, but I always have technicians. It allows me to respond quickly. It has reduced the time to troubleshoot a problem and resolve an issue. I no longer need to send a specialist out. Technicians can get the needed information without having to log into a switch or do any complex work that they are not familiar with.

    It's an excellent testing tool for conducting network testing on copper and fiber, and what makes it excellent is the time it takes. It's a lot faster than other tools that I've used. It gives me a very reliable response, and it gives me various parameters for my test, such as the length of the cable, a wire map, etc. There is a colored screen, and it's very easy to read, which makes it very easy to work with. As opposed to some of the tools I've used that just give you a beep or two beeps, it gives me a lot more information which makes it easy to detect exactly where the problem is or how far along a line there may be a problem. That makes it very useful and an excellent tool to work with.

    With Link-Live, as soon as I run a test, that test is uploaded to my account online. I don't have to save it, download it, or copy it. It doesn't get lost. So, I can go online and see all the tests that my technicians have run. I can have those tests assigned to a site, so remotely, I know what are the conditions of my sites, how reliable my networks are, and where improvements are needed. It stores all of my results, and those test results are online and available to me whenever I need them. It gives me a rich history, and it helps me to detect trends on my networks and where I need to do extra work. This historical reporting and being able to instantly access reports online is very helpful.

    I use LinkRunner's AutoTest feature. It simplifies all the testing because just one click does it all. I hit that button, and it runs a series of tests in one go, without me having to interact with it. I just get my results, and I can get to the bottom of my testing. AutoTest gives me a bunch of results. It gives me very useful information. It tells me whether my link is alive; it tells me the speed I'm getting, whether it's a hundred megabits or one gigabit per second. For a switch, it tells me what port I'm on and what's the model of that switch. It tells me if I got an IP address. It tells me what my IP address is and which DNS server gave me that IP address. It tells me if I have internet service on that link, and if I'm doing PoE, it tells me if I have Power over Ethernet available on that link. It also tells me if there's a VLAN that I'm using and what's that VLAN number. There is a very rich test set that is produced by LinkRunner, and this information is very important to me in troubleshooting. Normally, I have to run a series of different tests to try to locate what the problem is. I have to run one test and then do another test, and another test. With LinkRunner, I can certify that the network connections I give to my clients have all the services they need. It also tells me how my network is configured. It helps me to provide reliable connectivity and also benchmark my network performance.

    It's the fastest tool I've used. LinkRunner gives results in seconds, and it does that reliably. It gives me reliable results every time. Something that would normally take me an hour is done in less than a minute. That is very important for me because I'm in the healthcare industry, and time is very critical when I need to provide service to my healthcare professionals.

    The technical capabilities of LinkRunner have allowed me to respond to problems a lot quicker. My resolution time has been reduced by 80% in some cases. Normally, I have to get a technician to go out, and on realizing there's a problem on the line, the technician would go to the help desk and report it and ask for a network specialist. I then have to get a network specialist, if he's available, and send him out to the site. He will then run a series of tests, log in to a switch, get to the switch room, and then do another test to find out what's the VLAN and if there's internet access. Now, I can have that technician who reported the problem just use LinkRunner to run one AutoTest, and that AutoTest tells my technician exactly what services are available and not available. If I need to do a fix, I have all the information I need to do that fix, and that could be done remotely because that technician can tell me what VLAN he's on, which switch he is connected to, and which port he is connected to without having to visit the switch room or comms room. In a nutshell, it has allowed me to reduce my ticket time by 80%.

    It's very important that test results are automatically saved to NetAlly’s free Link-Live Cloud Service. I no longer have to rely on tests being saved by my technicians. Sometimes, test results are lost inadvertently, and then I have to revisit a site and retest. Being able to go online and get those results in real time and have them saved and compiled by LinkRunner's Link-Live service has been very valuable to me in building out my documentation for my sites. It has also been helpful in building out my documentation on trends on what has been my network performance. I can now look at my network performance and determine where I need to have improvements made. I can now save on my budgets, and I can now assign resources as I need to because LinkRunner gives me the ability to look at historical reports and have them all together in one piece in real-time.

    The automatic uploading of test results saves me time. Normally, I have to wait until a test is done. Sometimes, the test is done on multiple floors of a building, and I have to wait till all those tests are done and my technician gets his or her computer, connects the device, and then uploads those test results to me. That could take hours. Now, with LinkRunner, with wireless connectivity, I can have those tests uploaded as soon as they are run. It means I can have the information I need almost immediately. I can now respond a lot quicker, which is very valuable to me.

    It has made my network staff a lot more productive. My network staff spends less time troubleshooting little issues that could be fixed by a technician. My network staff has to work with fewer tools to fix a problem because LinkRunner does everything I need in one click. They no longer have to move up and down from a network drop up to a switch room, connect, and then go back down. They no longer have to work with a bunch of cables. They can just plug LinkRunner in and get the information needed, which is uploaded to Link-Live where I can view it, and my other technicians can view it. We can collaborate on results, and we can collaborate on ideas to fix a problem because that information is uploaded immediately and is available live to the entire team. It saves a lot of time, and it has improved my team's performance. They're very happy with it. In fact, I'm ordering more devices now because it saves a lot of time of my team from having to go back and forth. My site visits have decreased.

    What is most valuable?

    I've found the VLAN test feature to be most valuable. That's because not many devices do VLAN tests. Normally, I have to send a center technician to check a line and see if it's alive. If it's working, then I have to send a network technician out to log into a switch and see which port it's on and on which VLAN that port is. That's two persons and two separate visits. This device does all of this in a matter of seconds, and that has saved me a lot of time, troubleshooting, and resources.

    Its ease of use is very impressive. LinkRunner allows me to have my technicians run tests that are normally too complex and require a network specialist. AutoTest works with just one click. AutoTest does a lot of testing that would normally require a network specialist to log in to a switch and check out VLAN based on a port. My technicians don't have to log in to the switch anymore. They can just do AutoTest and information is provided online. So, I no longer have to send a specialist. I can have my technician run these very complex tests. It saves me on resources, time, and site visits.

    When it comes to troubleshooting, based on my experience, it has given very useful and very helpful information, especially for my field technicians. It has reduced my visits and the amount of presence because it gives a very comprehensive report on your network tests. It tests multiple variables and multiple parameters and gives a very informative report that makes it easy to pinpoint what is the root cause. There are many tools in this one solution. It's basically a bunch of toolkits or tool sets in one device, which makes it very powerful testing equipment.

    What needs improvement?

    One of the things I'd like to see in future versions of LinkRunner is a wireless dongle embedded into the product so that I don't need to have a separate wireless dongle. It should be built into that.

    In the future, I'd also love to see a GPS module built into it so that I can have my results and my sites linked via a GPS location. I would then know exactly where my guys are deployed and link my test results to my GPS mappings. That'll be a great tool for me.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using NetAlly LinkRunner G2 for just over two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In the two years that I've been using this, it has been very stable. I've used it at multiple sites, and I've used it with multiple users. They've not had any complaints about it. It has fallen a few times, inadvertently. It's a very stable device. It has proved to be rugged.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I work in the public sector. I work in a company with about 1,000 employees to 1,500 employees. I have about seven people using this solution, and they are technicians because they are now able to use this. It's so simple to use. I also have network specialists. I have a senior network specialist, and I have a network engineer.

    How are customer service and support?

    We did contact NetAlly's technical support because we wanted to get a better understanding of the WiFi dongle and how it works. We didn't buy it the first time. We read about it afterward, and we thought it would add more value and capabilities. So, we contacted them to get an idea of how it works. They gave us a very good overview of how it works, and we went ahead and purchased it. I would rate their support a 10 out of 10.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. My team had this tool up and running in a matter of minutes. There weren't any challenges. We didn't have to call tech support, and it was very easy to get it going.

    What about the implementation team?

    It was all done in-house. We got this device from the supplier, unboxed it, plugged it in, and checked the updates and made sure we were running the latest firmware. I created my account on Link-Live, and I was up and running in less than an hour.

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

    It's reasonably priced in my market. It provides good value for money. The device is competitively priced as compared to other solutions. It gives you a lot of functionality and saves you a lot of time and resources. I see it as a good buy and good value for money. I stand for it.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate this product a nine out of ten.

    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
    LinkRunner
    November 2022
    Learn what your peers think about LinkRunner. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Stuart Kendrick - PeerSpot reviewer
    Systems Engineer at a consultancy with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Helps ensure our fiber to the desktop connections are correct; reduces troubleshooting time by a factor of 10
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution's ability to simplify network validation and configuration of copper and fiber Ethernet networks is very useful to me. Otherwise, I’m guessing. Having a tool that I can trust doesn't solve all problems, but for the problems it solves, I can trust that it has told me “yes” or “no.” I would rate it highly for that."
    • "It is very stable. That being said, there is one feature that is not quite as stable as the rest of the product. You can leave it plugged into a location where you're doing some work and connect to it remotely by a program called VNC... sometimes that function breaks down, if you've been running for a couple of days... if you're remotely controlling it, you're probably not right next to it. That can be modestly annoying."

    What is our primary use case?

    My primary use case is validating jacks:  typically, fiber connecting to desktop jacks. We cross-connect in the IDF, install a patch cord running to the end station and, before I plug that patch cord into the PC with its 10-gig NIC, I want to verify that the path is working correctly.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Sometimes we have connected the patch cord in the IDF to the wrong strands:  LinkRunner tells us (doesn't display link). Ditto if we have polarity incorrect.  [The Fluke FiberLert is another useful tool in this situation -- it tells you which strand(s) are transmitting light.]  Once we have location and polarity done correctly, the LinkRunner 10G will report 'link up' as part of its AutoTest.  Then, just like all the models of LinkRunner, it will report on the negotiated speed & duplex, listen for CDP/LLDP announcements in order to offer details about the attached switch, report in any VLAN tagging, acquire a DHCP address, ping the resulting default router and DNS servers, and finally ping a remote target, for us, typically www.google.com, all of which validates the higher level network path & services.

    We can, and have, done all this with the PC itself, of course, but when things aren't working, you aren't sure whether the issue lies inside the PC, with its NIC, driver, and its configuration, or inside the the network infrastructure.  Furthermore, your colleague in desktop support, or the end-user themselves, aren't always available to contribute the PC portion.  With the LinkRunner, once you have a successful AutoTest, you can walk away knowing that you have successfully delivered the network infrastructure, and that remaining issues are concentrated in the end-station.

    We have a bunch of fiber optic to desktop connections, and getting all those pieces right:  installing the cross-connect in the IDF, cleaning the glass ends, polarity, the correct switch in the IDF, VLAN assignment, can take a couple hours. A tool like this can drop that down to 20 minutes. Saving that kind of time once a week makes it worth its cost to my management.

    LinkRunner 10G reduces troubleshooting time by a factor of 10. I don't know what I would do without it, particularly the 10-Gbps capability. I suppose I would have to carry around a small-form factor PC equipped with a 10-gig NIC. That would be laborious, when compared to carrying the hand-held LinkRunner.

    We also use the LinkRunner 10G when building fiber pathways between network infrastructure elements -- between switches located on different floors or between buildings:  again, it verifies Layers 1-2:  that we have installed patch cords in the appropriate places all the way through the various fiber patch panels, have polarity correct, have the appropriate optics installed in the appropriate switch ports.

    It makes our networking staff more productive because then they can do other things, rather than spending their time on low-level validation.

    What is most valuable?

    The AutoTest feature allows you to validate an Ethernet connection, whether it's a vanilla copper connection—10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, or 10 Gbps—or fiber via the SFP Plus port. That's the feature that I have found most useful.

    AutoTest provides me with validation that a network path is working for the first four levels of the OSI model. It gives me an Ethernet link — and if you can't get that, then none of the rest of it matters. It also tells me what the tool has been able to auto-negotiate to: 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, or 10 Gbps. That helps me validate the Ethernet layer. It gives me information about VLAN tagging. If you're plugged into a jack that you believe should be tagged and it isn't, or vice versa, then this is giving you critical information.

    It continues at what I would call Layer 2, and tells you the name and other characteristics of the Ethernet device it’s plugged into. That's helpful because it tells me if I’m plugged into the switch that I think I'm plugged into. It goes and gets an IP address, which tells me if the DHCP servers are working. It pings stuff, such as the default gateway that the DHCP server has given me, and the DNS servers. And finally, I have it configured to reach out to Google. If I can ping all the way out to Google, then I've verified that the network path between here and Google is working. [That network path may not be as performant as I would like, but at least the basic functionality is there.]

    The second useful feature is the performance test, formally called an ITU (international telecommunications union) Y.1564 test. That is a standards-based internet protocol test that measures five parameters. You stick this device on one end and a similar device on the other end of the pathway that you want to test, and it will measure for you, in a sophisticated way, the five following characteristics:

    • throughput - how many bits per second you're getting between the two tools
    • latency
    • jitter - the variation on latency
    • packet loss/frame loss
    • availability (what percentage of the time was the link available for transmitting / receiving)

    From a certain perspective, these are the canonical five parameters which describe a network:  any network. This device, and any one of a number of different devices that can act as its partner on the other end, will allow you to validate that path using this standardized test suite.

    It’s useful in a couple of cases, such as where you're paying for a circuit from a carrier from, say, city A to city B, or between two locations inside a city, and you want to validate that the carrier has in fact delivered the circuit that you're contracted for.

    The second scenario where I use it is the case we regularly get in support tickets, that "the network is slow". There are a lot of approaches to troubleshooting such a ticket, but one approach is to unplug the two machines from which we’re getting the “slow” report and run one of these performance tests between them.  [Alternatively, plug one tool "next to" the client and the other tool "next to" the server.]  If the tools are able to achieve whatever the designed network performance is, you've narrowed the fault domain. You can say, "Okay, great. It's something to do with my client or my server:  I have demonstrated that the network path will deliver the desired behavior." If the two tools are unable to reach the desired performance, then you've also narrowed the fault domain and you can focus on your network infrastructure.

    Another valuable feature is that it is really easy to use. NetAlly has really done a good job on the user interface. This is particular impressive because the device has a small screen, obviously, not 19" monitor here:  they manage to pack a lot of information into a small space and make it obvious what the tool is telling you.

    The solution's ability to simplify network validation and configuration of copper and fiber Ethernet networks is very useful to me. Otherwise, I’m guessing. Having a tool that I can trust doesn't solve all problems, but for the problems it solves, I can trust that it has told me “yes” or “no.” I would rate it highly for that.

    Also, for the things that it troubleshoots, it does it very well because it is so reliable. It gives me a "green light" or a "red light." Is this particular function working or not?  I have yet to run into a bug affecting the results it reports

    And it is quick:  the UI is highly responsive, the tests it runs complete rapidly.

    I find it quite helpful that test results are saved on NetAlly’s Link-Live Cloud Service because I'm forever staring at the screen saying, "Hey, this is great, can I move on to my next jack?" and then I've forgotten some little detail about the previous test. I can jump on LinkLive and there are the results of the test.  Or, just consult my email:  I have it LinkLive configured to send test results to me via email.

    There is one other feature that I use occasionally, and that's the Packet Capture feature. I find that useful at some points when troubleshooting. The fact that this has a built-in capture function makes it all the more useful, rather than having to pull out a second tool to do the packet capture.

    What needs improvement?

    I wish it would boot a little faster, but then, I'm an impatient kind of person. It takes 20 seconds to boot and if they could cut that, it would be better. Other than that, I struggle to come up with some notable feature that I wish it had

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using LinkRunner 10G since 2020

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is very stable: it doesn't crash, the applications run as expected time and time again. That being said, there is one feature that is not quite as stable as the rest of the product:  the remote control function. You can leave it plugged into a location where you're doing some work and connect to it remotely by a program called VNC, which is popular at our site. And sometimes that function breaks down, particularly if you've been running for a couple of days, i.e. sometimes the VNC server running inside the tool quits working and you have to reboot it. Of course, if you're physically next to it, rebooting is not a big deal. But if you're remotely controlling it, you're probably not physically next to it. That can be modestly annoying. I don't know that there's a lot NetAlly can do about that, as VNC is an open-source, third-party product. But the rest of the product is rock-solid.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability isn’t really applicable to a handheld device, but the Link-Live feature, which can aggregate all of your personal tools or all of your department's tools or all the company's tools, is reasonably scalable. There are lots of ways to organize tools and results and folders. We don't really do a lot of that. We just have a handful of tools that all report to one account, and that works well enough for our purposes.

    How are customer service and support?

    NetAlly’s technical support is excellent. You send them an email and they respond rapidly and accurately and helpfully. I've been using them for a number of years and it's lovely. Many sites have a fancy web portal where you fill in a lot of information and you open your ticket, and that's fine. NetAlly just has an email address, which is kind of low-end, but it works great because they're so responsive.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    This company was Fluke Networks decades ago; this chunk was bought by NetScout, which sold the group to the current owner:  NetAlly. But it is essentially the same crew of people.  I have been using their gear since the late 90s.  I have not used a competitor's product, so I cannot comment on whether anything out there is better or not.

    How was the initial setup?

    They have automated the setup. It's quite nice. The only thing you have to do is register it on Link-Live, the free website, and that process is handled in a clear fashion.

    The first time I set-up a NetAlly tool it probably took about 30 minutes:  creating my account on LinkLive, figuring out where the 'register my tool button is' and so forth. Now that I'm familiar with the strategy, it takes about five minutes.

    We currently have three LinkRunner users. One of them works in desktop support, out in the field, connecting end stations to the network and troubleshooting. The second person is a network technician who receives tickets that are escalated from desktop support. And there's a network engineer who gets tickets that are escalated from the network technician.

    What about the implementation team?

    We have implemented ourselves.  That being said, we have regularly hired Network Protocol Specialists LLC for coaching on network trouble-shooting in general, and during those coaching sessions, we often use LinkRunner or other NetAlly tools.  We bring current tickets to the coaching session, NPS coaches us through ways to resolve those tickets.  Historically, we have brought NPS on-site; these days, we use Zoom et al to do this remotely, with one of us in the field, another person at their desk, and NPS coordinating us remotely.

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

    We pay for support:  we appreciate the surety of hardware replacment should a device fail (we have not experienced hardware failure on any of these tools), plus the regular software updates, which add features.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We haven’t looked at other options. We are willing to do that but haven't invested the time it takes.  The tools from Fluke Networks, and now NetAlly, meet our needs.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice is to try it out and, if it works for you, buy it. Anybody who's in the business of managing networks needs this or a similar tool. It saves you a lot of time.

    The biggest lesson I've learned from using LinkRunner is the usefulness of narrowing down the fault domain. When there is a problem, it's not clear whether it's the client, the network, or the server. What this and similar products allow me to do is narrow the fault domain, and to either say, "It's definitely not the network,” or “It definitely is the network." It doesn't necessarily solve the problem for me, but helps me focus my attention on the component which is causing the problem.

    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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    ManuelGuerrero - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT Support Specialist III at Citrus College
    Real User
    Top 10
    All-in-one tool, rapidly diagnoses network issues, helpful automated testing features
    Pros and Cons
    • "In terms of documenting ad hoc additions and other changes to wired ethernet connections, this product is very good. It keeps the information in the cloud and I have the ability to name it. This makes it very nice and easy to see."
    • "Unlike using an application like Wireshark, this device gives us no way to see network packets specifically to look at what's going on. It doesn't have the capability."

    What is our primary use case?

    My primary use cases are plugging into a port to determine what switch it is, the name of the switch, what VLANs are on it, and to test if there is a correct connection or even a correct termination on both sides.

    How has it helped my organization?

    LinkRunner's ability to simplify network validation is pretty good. I just recently started using the telnet feature and it is helpful because previously, I had to carry a laptop with all of the correct connections set up. I no longer have to. As long as I have the IP address, I can directly connect to the hardware and make the changes.

    Using it means that instead of having to use several pieces of equipment, I now just need one to do all that I need at any given point.

    It has definitely helped in terms of saving time and costs, as well as improving efficiency. My time savings is pretty significant. Some of my calls are pretty quick but if I didn't have the tool, they would take longer. Calls that took me between an hour and an hour and a half, now take about 15 minutes. 

    From the point of testing all the way through to the switch, including DHCP and DNS, this solution is very important. It eliminates half the problems that I have when testing.

    Recently, we had a problem with fiber connections and determining our slowness on campus. When it comes to easy stuff like going from a client to a switch, it's very easy to find it and it's not a problem. When it goes to DHCP and out to the internet, it is great and again, not a problem. However, when we're trying to diagnose why there's slowness on campus, that's pretty hard to figure out, even with this specific tool.

    In terms of the speed at which LinkRunner provides results, it's really good. It is one of the better tools I've used in a long time. It gives me everything at a glance and I can just give it to somebody in the field, and they can do it themselves remotely. Then, I can see the data back at my end, and make the appropriate changes.

    What is most valuable?

    The telnet feature has come in handy because I no longer have to carry a laptop with me to test connectivity.

    The integration with the cloud system is very good. If I need to give this device to a level one engineer, they can run and plug it into the port, and then an automatic email is generated. It sends me all of the information that I need to make changes. This feature is great when I'm in the field.

    The fact that the test results are automatically saved into NetAlly's Link-Live Cloud Service is pretty important to me. As a network engineer, it's really useful to have and be able to look at testing in the past. I enjoy it thoroughly. This is a feature that saves me time and helps with the management of the results.

    If I'm using a laptop then usually, all I can see is where I can reach Google. This device tells me the name, port number, VLANs, and other details. That's what I like to see.

    The fiber connections are great, and this feature makes a huge difference.

    The AutoTest feature is one that I use quite significantly. It provides me with information such as the name of the switch, the port number, and the VLANs. These are the major focuses. I also use it when I have to probe out a link and check the connections in between. Using the AutoTest features wipes out more than half of my work. Perhaps three quarters.

    With most of our testing, this solution makes it pretty simplistic. It will go through the network, it will tell you how fast the traffic is moving, the return cycle, and other relevant information. 

    In terms of documenting ad hoc additions and other changes to wired ethernet connections, this product is very good. It keeps the information in the cloud and I have the ability to name it. This makes it very nice and easy to see. I don't think that I can do this from the device itself when I test. That would be a nice feature to have. If I could name it inside the actual device, and then have it transmit the data to the cloud automatically, it would be one less step that we have to do. 

    What needs improvement?

    We were having trouble diagnosing a slowness on our network and using this tool, we weren't able to determine where the problem was. Ultimately, it was that a transceiver was going bad but we couldn't tell because it was still functional. It was slow, and the problem was intermittent, but there was no way to really identify the issue.

    Unlike using an application like Wireshark, this device gives us no way to see network packets specifically to look at what's going on. It doesn't have the capability. This means there is no way to determine whether a transceiver is going bad if it's still functional.

    Using some of the other tools supplied by the NetAlly support care, that run with LinkRunner, really hurts us because if we have to keep purchasing the product, we can't keep using the full potential of the tool. We can't do full performance testing.

    When I test a connection, it doesn't give me a place to name the results. It sends it to the cloud and provides an email about it. Having the ability to attach a name to the data, right from the device, would be helpful.

    The learning curve for this tool is pretty steep if you don't know what you're doing. A lot of it for me was on-the-job learning. I read a lot and watched a lot of the videos that are available. However, the videos helped perhaps a quarter compared to what I had to learn myself. There are no specific videos, for example, on how to use telnet or to use it on the device when you're on the network.

    I have seen other vendors provide training material in the form of a course, instead of just a set of YouTube videos. They go more in-depth and show you more detail, which would be ideal for this product. As it is now, the videos that they have are pretty general and although they show you some parts of what you can do in the real world, it doesn't show 100% of the features. This is an important thing to add because using it to its full extent can be truly life-changing.

    Another complaint that we have about the product is the firmware updates, which have to be done through NetAlly Care specifically. Firmware updates and software upgrades should be included for the life of the device. Alternatively, they should be included for the first three years or even the first year, at a bare minimum. As it is now, you don't even have that. There is really no support in that regard, once you get the tool. Originally, that deterred me. However, I took a risk on the product because I saw that it was being used heavily in the industry, and I'm glad that I did. The support for inclusive firmware updates is the number-one thing that I would change.

    I think that the OS could be updated a little bit. It looks like it's running Android Froyo, or perhaps one that is a little more recent.

    You're supposed to be able to read the instructions right on the device but the problem is that they are too difficult to see.

    It requires an internet connection and if I'm in the field, I either have to make sure that I've purchased a USB separately or have the one that comes with it. Or, I need an internet connection when I might need to be testing it from that point, which is a little bit difficult to do.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with LinkRunner for approximately two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have never had any issues with stability, and it has never crashed.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have three of us who are using it. I do the networking in our organization, and the other two people are level one engineers that might need help with networking or diagnosing problems.

    How are customer service and support?

    I have never been in contact with technical support.

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

    I have used other tools in the past and this is one of the better tools I've used in a long time. We don't buy a lot of the tools very often because they're expensive. In any of our networking, we were using a lot of older stuff.

    It's good to now have tools that are all-inclusive and one set for networking. That said, I know it's harder to get more tools that can tell us directly what's wrong with the fiber, except that it's slow or the threshold is at a certain level.

    Prior to working with LinkRunner, we used products from Fluke Networks. The reason that we switched had to do with researching other products, as well as asking my peers what they were happiest with. They recommended it.

    Having always been a user of Fluke products, and trying this now, I'm glad that I decided to try it because I'm impressed. The features that made the biggest difference were that it's all-inclusive in a single system, its ability to handle 10G fiber, which we're just starting to implement now, and the capability of the cloud system.

    Overall, I really enjoy this tool compared to everything else, because it really reduces laptop usage, having to plug into the network or the switch directly. It gives me everything at a glance.

    How was the initial setup?

    There are documentation and YouTube videos available to help with setting up the product.

    What was our ROI?

    On the topic of cost versus the ability to solve problems faster, from the perspective of a large company, it's well worth it because it leads to better time management for individuals. Instead of us spending 60 or 90 minutes trying to figure out one particular network issue, we can diagnose it within 15 minutes. 

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

    The cost of this device is very expensive, especially with the NetAlly Care on top of the costs. It is not for personal use and would be very expensive for smaller businesses. My company purchased it out of pocket and they provided it to me. It frees me up more so it is worthwhile for them. However, if I were using it personally, it would be hard to justify the cost versus the time.

    If I were choosing a solution for a private business, I would suggest that the technician uses a laptop. It might cost only $1,000 with all of the connection cables and everything that they need. It would require more effort and it would take more time to resolve issues, but it would be easier to justify the cost on a higher level.

    On the other hand, if troubleshooting is something that you do every day as a network engineer or a network technician, and this is a device that is going to be used consistently, then it's worth the time and the cost. Long-term productivity will improve because of it.

    What other advice do I have?

    Overall, the full functionality of this tool is phenomenal. This is a tool that I would buy on my own, provided I could afford it.

    I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

    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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    Network analyst at a university with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Drastically reduces the time and effort and is extremely handy, but takes time to boot up and goes to sleep after a few minutes during cable toning
    Pros and Cons
    • "It provides a way to test 10Gig connectivity. Previously, we had to hook up a switch. That was our only way. Now, with LinkRunner, we can test on the fly if an SFP is bad or if the switch has the right configuration on it."
    • "It doesn't turn off automatically, but the toning function goes to sleep. It seems to stop toning after five or six minutes if you don't find the cable. It could be up to ten minutes, but if you don't find the cable that you're trying to tone quick enough, you'll have to go back and restart the tone. So, it doesn't turn itself off, but while toning, it turns itself off."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have a lot of the normal LinkRunners, and we have the 10Gig ones called LinkRunner 10G Professional Kit that we use to determine connectivity for plug-and-play. We use the Cisco DNA Center. So, the polarity needs to be right and the link needs to be up. We usually test it with LinkRunner, and then we bring the switch up, and it automatically discovers it.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It provides a way to test 10Gig connectivity. Previously, we had to hook up a switch. That was our only way. Now, with LinkRunner, we can test on the fly if an SFP is bad or if the switch has the right configuration on it.

    It makes the network validation and configuration of copper and fiber Ethernet networks drastically easier. It definitely cuts down a lot of time. We can also use the old LinkRunners, but the 10Gig one definitely cuts down a lot of time to verify VLANs and connectivity and do a cable test. 

    We use it all the time. It is one tool that you can bring with you that will most likely do whatever you need. If you need to tone a cable that's not plugged in, it'll tone it. Once you find it, if you need to know when the switchboard is on, it will do that for you. It will tell you the VLAN it is on. We use it to briefly test and make sure a cable is getting a 1 Gbps link, and it is not a 100 Mbps or half duplex or anything like that. We even use it for labeling to tone out ports. It is definitely the only tool you would need to do most of what you can do. Some of the tools do it better, but for the all-in-one, we have definitely found nothing that comes close to it.

    We use the AutoTest feature the most. That's the one that lets you know whether a VLAN doesn't have an IP address at a gateway. We use that feature all the time. A computer would only get you half of that information. You could get the IP address and the gateway, and that's about it. You would still need some other way to get the switch information. You'd have to go on the switch and trace down the switch to get that. So, having just one central point to grab everything really cuts down on time.

    We have a lot of key members who use it. We have a lot of VLANs throughout our network, and usually, we have issues such as the port not being on the VLAN on which the client needs it. With the LinkRunner AutoTest, in about five seconds, we can get the information about the port, what VLAN it is on now, and what VLAN it should be on. It can be done in seconds, whereas previously, you'd have to rely on documentation or look for the MAC address, but this makes it insanely faster.

    It has absolutely reduced our troubleshooting time. The amount of information that you can quickly grab with this device is amazing. It has saved two to three hours a day on average.

    It has made our networking staff more productive. It takes less time to get the simple information, and you can move on to other things. It definitely impacts our staff's productivity.

    What is most valuable?

    It is really easy to use. We have a bunch of new people, and it has been very simple. We've never had any problems or confusion using it. It is very well laid out.

    It is hugely helpful for troubleshooting. It is one of the main tools we use to troubleshoot. We use it all the time to see which cable is on what switch, the VLAN name, and the switch name. To AutoTest, you can use DCP or static to see what kind of IP you're getting and if you're getting one.

    What needs improvement?

    The 10G one is fine in terms of the speed of the results, but it takes a long time to boot up, whereas you could instantly turn on the old ones. They would be on in a second.

    It doesn't turn off automatically, but the toning function goes to sleep. It seems to stop toning after five or six minutes if you don't find the cable. It could be up to ten minutes, but if you don't find the cable that you're trying to tone quick enough, you'll have to go back and restart the tone. So, it doesn't turn itself off, but while toning, it turns itself off.

    The polarity on the 10 gigabit SFP port is reversed.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have had two of the 10Gig ones for about eight months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I haven't noticed crashing or anything else. It has been very stable. One unit had stopped charging, and we sent it out for repairs. They sent us a new one in four or five days. That was the only problem we ever had.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is very good for everything we use it for. It has been able to do what we need and more. We've had no issues with scalability. We've never needed more out of a device.

    We only have two 10Gig ones. Anyone who works on the networking team uses it at one point or another. We use it for everything. We mostly reserve the 10Gig one for dealing with any 10Gig link issues because it is more helpful, but for any ticket, problem, or anything to do with making sure we're looking at the right switch, we just plug it in to get the name or the IP address of the switch. We use it for everything we do.

    We don't have any plans to increase the usage of the 10Gig ones. They are quite expensive, and we have only two of them. Down the road, when we move over to more 10Gig infrastructure, we might get more, but right now, the two 10Gig ones are fine.

    How are customer service and support?

    We only had to use their support once when one unit had stopped charging, and their support was a five out of five. I sent them a video of it not charging, and they said that they will send us a replacement. We put the old one in the box and shipped it back. They were quick, and in four or five days, they sent us a new one.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    We've had LinkRunners when they were owned by Fluke, and we've had LinkRunner 1000 by NetAlly and LinkRunner 2000 as well. We switched because we needed something to test 10Gig links. Before this, we had to hook up the switch to it. That was the only way to verify connectivity across. We had to bring a small switch in a bag.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was straightforward. It was a while ago, but I don't remember it being complex at all.

    What about the implementation team?

    We had a reseller called Graybar, and our experience with them was very good.

    What was our ROI?

    Based on the number of times we've troubleshot 10Gig links, we have absolutely seen an ROI. It cuts down time drastically.

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

    The 10Gig ones are quite expensive, and we have only two of them, but I know that this option was cheaper than the other 10Gig option we looked at, and we're very happy with it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did evaluate other options, but we couldn't find anything else that did 10Gig. Based on the research we did, this was the only option. We found a few LinkRunner-like alternatives, but none of them did 10Gig. There was one we looked at that had a touchscreen like a tablet, but it would have cost more money. That was the other one we found, but LinkRunner was the only one we looked at.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is very beneficial. We had a trial of it, and what sold us on it was just being able to use it in person. Before trying it, we didn't really know if we needed it. We had it for about two weeks, and then when we gave it back, we realized how much it improved our workflow and simplified installation and troubleshooting.

    We don't use LinkRunner for documenting ad hoc additions, moves, and changes of wired ethernet connections. I know that you can plug it into all your ports and you can go back and view it online, but we've never used it for that. We don't use the Cloud service. When we first got them, we had turned on the emails, but it sent too many emails, and we turned it off. We haven't used it since.

    I would rate it a seven out of ten. A few annoyances stop it from being a great product, but it is definitely extremely handy.

    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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    Mike Robinson - PeerSpot reviewer
    Network/Telecom Administrator at Navarro College
    Real User
    Single Auto-Test button gives me all the information I need on most jobs.
    Pros and Cons
    • "I like the fact that I can tell the equipment to stop at a certain point during the test of a cable, to see whether or not there is basic connectivity. I can stop it before it starts pinging the outside world, such as Google or, perhaps, our core network switch. Those basic results—do I have a basic connection and power—finish up fast and I can move on."
    • "A feature that I would like to see is the ability to send a tone down the cable. That would be great. I have to use a separate tool for that. If I'm trying to troubleshoot a cable that is not plugged into a network switch, I need the ability to tone."

    What is our primary use case?

    My use cases revolve around determining 

    • how much PoE power is coming out
    • if I have the port configured so that it will present me with an IP address for that access point
    • what port that I have it plugged into on the switch.

    I use it for other things as well, but those are the day-to-day uses, 98 percent of the time.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I plug in the unit and it will tell me good things like how much PoE power is coming out and whether it can support one of the fanciest wireless access points. In addition, I will know if I have the port configured so that it will present me with an IP address for that access point, and what port I have it plugged into on the switch.

    I don't necessarily need to take a laptop with me anymore. I like that I don't have to carry multiple tools to do the basic job of knowing if the cable is good, or if the port or network is available to do the job. It reduces the amount of equipment you need.

    The ability to streamline installation and triage is helpful. For example, I had a job where I rewired a room. I had all the cables going to the network closet and terminated all of them. I plugged them all into the network switch, and then it was a matter of going from port to port to port in that room to see whether or not they all had basic connectivity. The results I was able to get with LinkRunner met my "hurry up, let's see if they all work" requirement so that I could put the room and all the furniture back together quickly.

    In terms of troubleshooting, it helps when it comes to PoE. If I need a Class 3 or Class 4 level of power, meaning I need all 30 watts to be coming out of my network switch to be able to boot up an access point, I can plug the unit into a network jack and it will tell me if that jack is presenting the amount of power necessary. If not, it will tell me what it did put out. That lets me know there's either something wrong with the cable or the cable run is too long to present the needed power over that distance.

    Another example where it helped with troubleshooting was in pulling up IP and DNS. I found out that at a particular site I was actually getting my responses for DCP and DNS from my failover site, not from the primary. That let me know that there was something wrong. When I looked into it in more detail, I found out that the response time was slower from the local server than it was from the remote server. That clued me in that I needed to tell somebody about that.

    If I compare the time it takes me now, versus my old mindset of four years ago, to do a single job, LinkRunner has cut it down to about one-third of the time. It has made me more productive.

    What is most valuable?

    I like the fact that I can tell the equipment to stop at a certain point during the test of a cable, to see whether or not there is basic connectivity. I can stop it before it starts pinging the outside world, such as Google or, perhaps, our core network switch. Those basic results—do I have a basic connection and power—finish up fast and I can move on. The fact that I can stop it at certain points, if that's the targeted job for the day, is helpful. It does the job fast enough, producing accurate information every time.

    I don't use the online results because I don't pay for the account. Right there, on the spot, the handheld gives me what I need to know. I don't have to report to anybody else. I am the guy who needs the information.

    The AutoTest feature is pretty much the only button I use. It provides me with 100 percent of the information I need. There are a lot of other cool things available, like speed tests, but I don't use them. The Auto-Test gives me the POE, the DNS, DCP, responses, and which switchport it is on. That one button gives me all the most important information for my needs.

    Overall, what I like about it is that I can do jobs quickly and tailor them in a way that I like.

    What needs improvement?

    Other than the battery not lasting long, it's easy to use.

    A feature that I would like to see is the ability to send a tone down the cable. That would be great. I have to use a separate tool for that. If I'm trying to troubleshoot a cable that is not plugged into a network switch, I need the ability to tone.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used two or three different products from NetAlly, but I have been using the LinkRunner 10G for about a year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I've had no issues with it at all.

    How are customer service and support?

    I used the technical support one time when I wondered what happened to my online account. I found it was no longer there because that amount of time is what you get with the product. You don't get the online features forever.

    When I asked about the software updates, I got all the answers quickly and they were clear. The tech support provided me with the answers to my questions. They weren't necessarily the answers I wanted to hear, but at least they were the answers to my questions.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I have used the company's older products. I also have some Fluke equipment, but not the type that runs IP lookup and the functions that the LinkRunner has. The Fluke equipment is not the same.

    How was the initial setup?

    Was it easy to figure out, out-of-the-box? I would say that the typical guy doesn't read the manual. If creating the Link-Live Cloud Service account wasn't part of the initial process, the time it would have taken me to figure it out would have been about 30 seconds. And 20 seconds of that was because it took that long to boot up. It's extremely easy. It's just that they send you through a lot of steps to enjoy the Cloud Service features that, after that initial time frame, I didn't use.

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

    Compared to another company's product, LinkRunner is cheaper, but it's still about $1,000 too expensive, considering that the operating system is a free operating system. The OS has just been tweaked to give you a graphical interface. I don't think it's priced right. I don't consider it to be of appropriate value, even though it's cheaper than the competitor. The price is just too high.

    If it were $1,000 cheaper, we would see ISDs (independent school districts) using this product. The local ISD here saw me using the product and didn't know about it. When they realized how expensive it was, they weren't able to purchase it.

    You do get the ability, out-of-the-box, to save test results automatically to NetAlly’s Link-Live Cloud Service, but it's not a free cloud after your initial subscription. I looked at it and was able to see the results online, but it was useless to me. I don't need to pay for something that's not necessary for this college. Nobody needs that data. For me, the online account and the ability to put things up on the cloud is not important.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I definitely looked at products from Fluke, but there are not many out there that have the level of functionality that the LinkRunner has. It didn't take long to realize there are only two or three choices out there that are in the price range that a community college can buy.

    The big factor was the price tag.

    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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    Network Engineer at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Detects VLAN, power level, and which port on the switch we're plugged into, simplifying our work
    Pros and Cons
    • "AutoTest is very helpful. It's very streamlined and it's very easy to set up and very easy to identify what we want to achieve. It's probably the feature we use the most. It provides us with LLTD, which is very useful."
    • "It's a bit bulky. It would be nicer if it were a little bit smaller and packed with all its features. I would also like it if the screen were a bit bigger."

    What is our primary use case?

    When I moved into my current job, I got my manager to get one mainly to do 10-GB network testing for our upcoming products.

    We use it every day now. The rest of the guys in my team use it for network discovery a lot, such as for making sure that most of our devices that run 10-GB are getting proper throughput around the network. We also use it for bandwidth checking.

    Our company manufactures a lot of AV equipment and there are network ports available on them. We use the tool to set up the network for a particular device or product that we're about to release.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Before I joined the company and introduced the product to my manager, we were running around tracing cables and guessing what port or what VLAN is in that particular port in the field patch. With LinkRunner, we can just plug it into the port and it detects which VLAN and how much power it's outputting and what port on the switch we're plugged into for that field patch. It's made things a lot easier in terms of troubleshooting clients' networks.

    It has reduced troubleshooting time immensely. The guys have more confidence when they troubleshoot things now. They don't have to go back to their desks and log in to the switch and check. They can just bring that device to the port and check what VLAN and which port switch number it is. Having this tool and information easily obtainable is a key component for day-to-day troubleshooting.

    The fact that test results are automatically saved to NetAlly’s free Link-Live Cloud Service enables remote users like me to see things from the office. If I get one of my guys to go and have a look at a port or to check something, I don't have to go with them. I have a look at the information remotely. That's very useful for us.

    And we use the Cloud Service even more for archiving. Our office is more like a campus. People come and go. Being able to configure and check ports, and then archive that particular port in Link-Live is very useful for us. We can go back and say, "Okay. That port used to be that." It's like a change-control. It's good to have that functionality so that we can go back and look at how a port was configured back then.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features are the 

    • AutoTest for the network
    • port testing
    • network test performance.

    AutoTest is very helpful. It's very streamlined and it's very easy to set up and very easy to identify what we want to achieve. It's probably the feature we use the most. It provides us with LLTD, which is very useful. It helps us to discover devices from the other side. If they have link layer discovery protocol or CDP enabled, we can actually check the device that we're plugged into, as well as the port and tag; the Layer 2 information. 

    That is very useful for us because we always have labs testing new products that we are about to release. The ability to record the results from the AutoTest, such as what interface speed it's negotiating, and the PoE on that port, helps us when releasing new products, as a part of our lab networks.

    And when it comes to documenting ad hoc additions, moves, and changes of wired ethernet connections, it works very well. We can organize the results by folders, so we can see what's been changed over a certain amount of time. That's really good.

    It's also amazing when it comes to troubleshooting. It's really helpful for us, especially if we're identifying a 10-GB network, or whatever our product is negotiating. We're very happy with it.

    As for its ease of use, the apps are very well-designed. They're very easy to use and understand.

    I'm also pretty impressed with LinkRunner's speed in providing results. As long as it's connected to the internet or WiFi, it's pretty quick in uploading the results to the cloud.

    And the Link-Live website is pretty easy to use. You can create folders and tag them. It's very, very well-designed.

    What needs improvement?

    It's a bit bulky. It would be nicer if it were a little bit smaller and packed with all its features. I would also like it if the screen were a bit bigger.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using NetAlly since it was called NETSCOUT, when I was with a previous company a long time ago. I've been using the LinkRunner 10-GB for almost six months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's very stable. I haven't seen it crash or had any issues with lockup or freezing of the unit.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    If we want to go further, it's going to be a bit more expensive. Cost is the factor when it comes to adding to our use. For us, it's not that scalable as a result, but it's a good tool for us to have even just one of. I would like to have more of them. Some of our new products will be moving into a space where we need to start using more network-capable devices such as the LinkRunner.

    At the moment there are five of us using it in the roles of desktop support, systems engineer, me as network engineer, another guy who looks after the Cloud Services, and my manager.

    How are customer service and support?

    I have not used their technical support.

    The documentation on the Link-Live support is pretty straightforward. It's a bit confusing sometimes but it's not too bad for figuring out where to go if you need support.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Neutral

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

    We evaluated other options but because I had used this product at a previous job that made it a lot easier for me to show the rest of the team how to use it. 

    I looked at Axence NetTools but it was not as feature-rich as LinkRunner.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is pretty straightforward. This is my second NetAlly product, so it was a lot easier for me to set it up.

    What about the implementation team?

    We purchased it through a reseller and the experience was great. He invited me over to his office and showed me all the NetAlly products. I told him my use case scenarios and he gave me an idea of which NetAlly product we could use. That was very helpful.

    What was our ROI?

    We see return on our investment because we can test 10-GB throughput. That is helpful already because it's hard to find a solution that can do 10-GBtesting with a touch and portable device, one that we can carry everywhere we go.

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

    The pricing and the support licensing is not that complicated. Just make sure you talk to your reseller about how many years you're buying, in connection with your Link-Live account or your AllyCare Premium Support Services. You have to be aware of that.

    We did purchase a WiFi dongle so that we can connect it to WiFi.

    I would buy another one if I had a chance but they're too expensive. If they made it a bit cheaper, I think a lot of network engineers and network administrators would immediately jump onto it. At the moment, they're just using whatever open-source product they can to do pretty much what LinkRunner can do.

    You get what you pay for.

    What other advice do I have?

    So far, we're loving it. It's a good product. Don't hesitate to buy one if you have the budget.

    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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    Bruce Hall - PeerSpot reviewer
    Network Administrator at a university with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Makes it much more practical for an individual to do building-to-building links on their own
    Pros and Cons
    • "The LLDP decoding is better than on some of the other devices that we've used. Specifically, it goes beyond the minimum of the LLDP data to decode, and it shows the LLDP port descriptions. That makes it vastly simpler to identify which port you're connecting to on a switch that's patched back to some other building, rather than having to figure out an SNMP index or something else."
    • "It does take a little while to boot up if it's turned off."

    What is our primary use case?

    I work for a college and we have mostly been using it on campus, whenever we've been adding fiber optic links between switches or routers, to identify paths and determine if they're plugging into the intended switch and port, before we plug it in with the actual switch.

    The other use case is that we're starting to do troubleshooting with LinkRunner but we haven't done a lot of that yet. If we're seeing errors on a link, we're trying to use it to identify the source or the severity of them using something that is not part of our switching structure. Having something that's a separate standard or measuring device is very appealing.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Given that some of the kinds of links that we need to do on campus are going from building to building, sometimes that can be tricky if you're doing it by yourself. With LinkRunner it is much more practical to do that as one person, without having another at the end or in between. I have been able to pretty confidently evaluate the link all the way, at every step in the process, rather than plugging it in at the end and looking at the switches to see what the status is. 

    In addition, with the AutoTest feature, it's good to have the PoE validation or reporting, as well as the detailed LLDP information at the same time. And it provides ping-level information to both local and remote websites. That information is pretty significant because we have a variety of APs with differing power requirements, and a variety of switches with differing levels of PoEs. I anticipate that we'll be able to use this to more readily identify if we've got the proper power when we're installing some of the newer, more power-hungry APs.

    In general, I like the idea of the Link-Live Cloud Service a lot. That was something I'm not even sure I knew about beforehand. I may have read about it in the sheets, but hadn't looked at it in any detail at all. It should help save time because I know I don't have to worry about the results on the tester itself. I know that they're going to be on the cloud and I'll get notifications about them too.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the most valuable features may seem really small, but it's really helpful. The LLDP decoding is better than on some of the other devices that we've used. Specifically, it goes beyond the minimum of the LLDP data to decode, and it shows the LLDP port descriptions. That makes it vastly simpler to identify which port you're connecting to on a switch that's patched back to some other building, rather than having to figure out an SNMP index or something else.

    Its ability to simplify network validation and configuration of fiber Ethernet networks has been very good. It has certainly helped anytime we've been doing something where we wanted to evaluate it beforehand.

    On the troubleshooting side, from what I've seen, I think the Link-Live is going to be a big plus with the automatic storing of data on the cloud. I expect to have to take fewer pictures of my tester to record something. And while I haven't used it at all, I'm expecting to like the LAN BERT function for more extensive troubleshooting or validation of a link at higher levels.

    It's also pretty easy to use, at least when it comes to the primary functions. I haven't used the most advanced parts yet, but I was certainly able to make use of the basic features relatively quickly. For instance, the AutoTest, was literally a matter of plugging it in and pushing "AutoTest." I was able to evaluate the information that it gave back.

    The speed at which it provides results is very good. It seems very quick.

    What needs improvement?

    The only thing that comes to mind is that it does take a little while to boot up if it's turned off.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We got LinkRunner in the fall of 2021, so we have had it for about four months.

    It has primarily been me using it in my role as network administrator, being involved in physically adding links in different places. What I expect we'll be doing in the relatively near future is to have the couple of people who also do physical port activations and switch installs make use of it in the same way I do.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I haven't noticed any stability problems on the unit.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We got it for 10-Gb links and below. There will certainly be a point where we want to do 40-Gb links, but I realize that that's a big jump from where this device is. And it has already made a big jump, going from 1-Gb links to 10. We're satisfied with that for now.

    How are customer service and support?

    I haven't used their technical support, although there was one strange issue. The case that it's in has a Velcro strap, and the stitching that held the Velcro on was defective. It was coming undone. I went through customer support and identified that by answering an email and uploading a photo. It was a pretty painless process and, relatively quickly, they sent a replacement case for it.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I've used another NetAlly product, but it is a lower-level product. I also used an older Fluke model. I haven't used a newer Fluke device.

    The key thing we were looking at in switching to LinkRunner was the higher speeds that are available. The 10-Gb capability was a real plus. It's also newer and much more modern.

    What was our ROI?

    When I look at its cost versus its ability to save time or solve problems faster, it's good. I'm perfectly happy with it.

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

    It's an expensive device. Don't expect it to be cheap. But the pricing is good. It certainly seemed in line with anything else I was looking at at the time.

    The range of NetAlly devices that I saw at the time gave me confidence that I could pick from other devices if I was looking for something with different capabilities at a different price point. But my first priority was the 10-Gb capability, and this was the first in their product line that did that.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I was looking around generally, so I probably ran across some others. But the NetAlly products seemed to have extra features like the test accessory, which is the remote iPerf server. That's a nice, handy thing to be able to plug in somewhere.

    What other advice do I have?

    I expect the LAN BERT function will take some time to learn because I haven't used that yet. I need to read a little bit more about it, and I need to pair it with another device.

    In terms of maintenance, it doesn't require any, as far as I know.

    I haven't used those advanced features yet, but from everything I've seen, it's a 10 out of 10. I haven't come across anything that's been disappointing. It has been able to do the things that I've tried to do with it.

    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
    Download our free LinkRunner Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: November 2022
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    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free LinkRunner Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.