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NetAlly EtherScope nXG OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetAlly EtherScope nXG is #1 ranked solution in top Network Diagnostics tools and #4 ranked solution in top Network Troubleshooting tools. PeerSpot users give NetAlly EtherScope nXG an average rating of 8.8 out of 10. NetAlly EtherScope nXG is most commonly compared to AirCheck G2: NetAlly EtherScope nXG vs AirCheck G2. NetAlly EtherScope nXG is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 54% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 13% of all views.
NetAlly EtherScope nXG Buyer's Guide

Download the NetAlly EtherScope nXG Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is NetAlly EtherScope nXG?

Multi-technology, all-in-one handheld network tester that enables engineers and technicians to get more done faster, from deployment to maintenance and documentation of their ever-changing Wi-Fi and Ethernet access networks.

The Etherscope nXG is the the industry’s first handheld analyzer for Wi-Fi 6/6E surveying (with AirMapper™ Site Survey), troubleshooting, and analysis.

NetAlly EtherScope nXG was previously known as EtherScope nXG, EtherScope, netAlly EtherScope, OptiView XG.

NetAlly EtherScope nXG Video

NetAlly EtherScope nXG Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NetAlly EtherScope nXG pricing:
  • "It is worth it. The cost benefit of Link-Live is massive because it is included with the cost of the device and the licensing. A lot of people miss that part of it. It is not just the device that you get but it is the ability to look at all of that data later on. You're not having to do all of that on the device. You can just be there, use the device, and then look at the data from the comfort of your office or home afterward."
  • "For the average network shop, the cost is a bit high. In a lot of organizations, people don't share test devices between teams. Generally, you need a device for the network team and a device for the system team, the security team, etc. While the cost is a little on the high side, that is offset by the regular updates and continued improvements that NetAlly adds to the device. Those improvements continue to increase the perceived value of the device."
  • "As a business owner, it was a high price. However, it was well worth it. We have gotten our money out of it and continue to get our money out of it. For the price and usability, it is definitely worth it. The Wi-Fi survey capabilities alone justifies the price. Having all the other tools in it really adds to that."
  • "The cost is not cheap but it totally pays for itself because it can do so much."
  • "It's a pricey device, but I see value in it from a business perspective."
  • "We paid for the additional maintenance on it (for an extra year) to get that extra coverage. This was the first time that we had this solution in-house, and it was pretty pricey. So, we wanted to make sure that anything went wrong, then we could get it repaired."
  • "It's the best 10Gig network tester for the price on the market."
  • NetAlly EtherScope nXG Reviews

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    V.P. of Networks at ProTek Communications
    Real User
    Saves time and has fifteen tools and functionality all in one
    Pros and Cons
    • "My impression of the ease of use is that it definitely is easy to use both the handheld device and the app walking around."
    • "On a hardware spec, it'd be nice to have something above 10-Gigs."

    What is our primary use case?

    Currently, I use the product for daily troubleshooting as needed. That ranges from wireless or wired problems, performance testing, certification, network certification, and proof of concepts. Since I am a beta customer as well, I've had very specific targeted tests at the request of the manufacturer on top of my own lab testing. I've tested heavily in our lab environment over the years, including stress tests, break/fix tests, and testing specific features and bugs. It's a very wide gamut of use cases.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's really not completely applicable for me as there weren't any necessary direct challenges. Unfortunately, going back to being a beta customer, I was tasked with testing specific new features and software-hardware combinations that include industry standards. That was the forefront of how I used the product.

    I more or less wanted to keep proving that I was of value to their process and I then used it at home as needed for customer problems, and troubleshooting proof of concepts. If a customer wanted to install a certain particular piece of network equipment, I could leverage this product to help prove or disprove certain things.

    First and foremost, it makes us a little more productive, effective, and quicker. We know we have good data as long as we follow specific processes and procedures for collecting the data with the device and the AirMapper program. It's fairly easy for me to show someone who's not familiar with the product how to walk around and tap on the device and keep track of where they are walking and then when they're done, upload it to Link-Live. They let me look at it if they don't know what they're doing. That cross-functionality between an average user or a low-level technician on-site collecting the data is great. I don't have to worry as much about the quality of the data as I did in the past, and I don't have to have a seasoned AirMagnet expert walking around collecting the data. That part is far more productive, more effective, and efficient and offered us a better bang for the buck. We can keep our experts focused on the more complex and more expert issues.

    What is most valuable?

    My impression of the multi-technology functionality of the solution is positive. It's worth its weight in gold and probably more. It's nice to have a smaller handheld device that doesn't kill your biceps after an hour.

    More specifically, as I do have products that are bigger and heavier and do similar functions, yet, on a spreadsheet, I can very quickly give line items of $1,000 to $3,000 handheld testers that do something similar to a specific single function of the product. As such, there are ten or fifteen of these features which very quickly add up to ten or fifteen products, and it's going to exceed the cost of one unit. As such, I have one tester that does these fifteen plus tests instead of having fifteen different tools in my tool belt and fifteen different costs and maintenance. It's pretty much priceless to me to have something portable, small, and one unit with so many functions.

    I use the pre-programmed auto-test feature. It’s also priceless.

    Out of ten times, I'm on-site at a customer's premises using the device probably greater than five times, and that provides sufficient information for me to initially start or even prove where the problem is within the first 30 seconds. Therein lies my statement of it being just priceless. You can't do that with a laptop or some other MacBook, even with special tools, it just isn't as reasonable. Compared to all the other hardware testing tools I've got, this has easily become my go-to tool if I'm running out of the office for any emergency or troubleshooting a problem.

    I made use of the solution's full line rate, and 10-Gig capability. At multiple times I can do packet capture and flooding of a 10-Gig circuit to essentially verify and certify a 10-Gig link or multi-network links.

    It’s very reliable and very stable, and I can always count on it. A friend of mine who was a network expert once said "Follow the data, yet always make sure you have good data.” I never have to be concerned if I've got good data with this product.

    I can use other tools or my laptop and I can guarantee that I may not have all my data, meaning it may drop packets. I may lose things and if I'm analyzing it and missing pieces and don't know it well, that puzzle never gets solved.

    Whereas, with this unit, out of the gate, I know I'm not missing anything. Every piece is there. I’ve just got to be able to know how to look at it and analyze it and follow the data. I know it's good data.

    I use the solution's AirMap or Site Survey app quite a bit. It's come a long way. The current version and the last few versions are very good.

    I use the AirMagnet version for my laptop as well. I'm most familiar with that. The fact that they are smaller and handheld has become far more reasonable for me to start using them more often. I find myself leaning more towards the NetAlly EtherScope now versus my laptop whereas, a year ago I would've said I was always grabbing my laptop.

    Both the handheld device and the app are easy to use. I have a long history with AirMap Pro on a laptop and building up my biceps when walking around with it. I did that for five or ten years several times a week at a previous job. That definitely was cumbersome. My arms hurt from having to carry my laptop the whole time. With this tool, this is not the case. It's easier, lighter weight and the functionality is very similar. I can see that they are focusing on that moving forward. It is extremely easy to use and I very, very much appreciate the development, given the history I've had with other tools.

    I'm very eclectic with my tools. I have Macs, Linux, and several other tools, homegrown, commercial, or open-source. They all serve a function and purpose at times. EtherScope has allowed me to put some of those tools to bed as I don't need them as much. On that level, EtherScope provided a much-needed tool.

    The solution reduced troubleshooting time. I've been a network professionally since 1997. I've been doing it for a very long time. EtherScope specifically has rapidly increased my functionality and abilities to where I don't have to spend as much time doing something else.

    What needs improvement?

    I don't have any issues right now. However, in terms of my beta relationship, sometimes I'm at the forefront and I know there are timelines for certain fixes.

    Even right now, it's come such a long way. They keep adding features to the software side and the hardware side functionality that I have, however, it’s mostly just priceless in the case of both hardware and software. I am able to do much more now.

    On a hardware spec, it'd be nice to have something above 10-Gigs. I have recently started looking at some products that are 25, 40, and 100-Gigs. I realized they probably have something in the works already, however, there’s nothing I'm aware of and certainly, this device cannot do that. I would say that a tool that has above 10-Gigabit of support would be needed and of value in the near future.

    However, as far as software and functionality, I really can't think of anything missing. Even all my creative tips on VNC, web server functionality, and remote access have been included over the last couple of years. I can't think of anything really off the cuff for software development that I would highly recommend.


    Buyer's Guide
    NetAlly EtherScope nXG
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetAlly EtherScope nXG. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    620,987 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I was in their beta program. I had one of the first products off the assembly line within the first six months before it ever came to market. I don't remember what year that was, but it's been several years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's one of the few tools that I have used in the last fifteen years. I know it's not been around that long, however, in general, it's one of the many tools I've acquired in 15-plus years of networking that has rarely if never let me down. It's my silver bullet. I used to call it my kitchen sink, even though it's a very small kitchen sink since it has everything in your kitchen that you would want.

    It's like the Swiss Army Knife of tools. I can count on it. It's reliable, it's probably going to be in my left hand when I walk out the door. If I'm going to customer premises and I absolutely know that there's no need for it, then I'll leave it here. Other than that, I usually default to always taking it with me.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    One person primarily uses the product. I've got two more that use it on occasion. One is on a technician level and the other is more of an advanced season technician. Usually, if either of them are going to use it, I would be involved a little bit, at least to tell them what I'm looking for or what I'm going to need from them when they get on-site, or I'll be on the phone with them, telling them what to do. I would say I'd be the primary user only due to the fact that I have a long history with it.

    How are customer service and support?

    Technical support is probably one of the best I've ever dealt with in my 25-plus years in the technology and networking realm. I've dealt with a lot of what I would call technical assistance centers and a wide range of manufacturers vendors, VARs, and subcontractors. Anytime and every time I've needed any support for their software or hardware, it has been pretty, pretty remarkable, especially in comparison with other support centers. They seem to care. They listen, they try and get the problem fully resolved versus just a workaround or add a band-aid where others just don't listen at all. They seem to go the extra mile.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I've been doing beta work for five to eight different manufacturers since mid-2013. I had three to four different beta manufacturers, off-and-on. There's been a long history of multiple products and manufacturers. The more recent ones would've been probably the betas prior to this particular product.

    Comparing NetAlly to a  different manufacturer is a night and day difference or apples and oranges since there were a few features and functions that were common between the two, however, probably 80% of each product was different than the other. If you only focused on the 20%, hands down, NetAlly had some room to grow at that time because they were still fairly new and they have come a long way with that. Back in those days, the other product was more seasoned.

    That's why it's apples and oranges. That other product had what I wouldn't necessarily call more reliability or stability, however, with it being a little bit more seasoned, I would say I would rely on that more at that time. I had used it longer and it proved to be reliable, however, if we gave it numbers, and I don't have the exact numbers, while NetAlly has fifteen tools that I would use, for this particular product, maybe there were three.

    Of those three same products, I would've probably used at that time, the other manufacturer, however, now, in the last three to five years, that other manufacturer is sitting on the floor collecting dust.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm an end-user and beta tester. However, I am definitely an evangelist of their product and their company. Anytime I get an opportunity, I show and tell it, I've been asked to guest speak for colleges and I usually bring one of these with me in my hand and also explain why it's important to use. I would sooner say we are a VAR of sorts. We would resell this if a customer asked and if they had a budget, but my customers are typically small businesses.

    I would highly recommend it. If it isn't being used by someone, it should be.

    I’d urge others to not shy away from it due to the price tag if that's the biggest concern. I came from a University where we had to justify everything and I had to create a spreadsheet to prove that it was of value and that it made sense to purchase it. As such, it did not take me very long after about five or six comparisons to where I started listing the needs for each particular product for my networking needs. After about four or five products, there are four or five combinations that were greater than the price of one NetAlly. I could buy five products and carry five tools in my tool belt and I'm only getting five functions. Whereas, with NetAlly, I had 15. It’s one Swiss Army knife versus five or ten other knives.

    In our case, once we got it in our hands and I was able to then improve productivity. If productivity is a concern, there are some demo depots out there that you can get your hands on for a week or two, take advantage of it, and you should be able to prove to your administration just how much more productive you have become. You will have saved money and have helped the bottom line of your business or university.

    A combination of the Swiss Army hardware versus functionality and productivity, hands down, to me, is a no-brainer, however, I had to fight for it. Our company went from one unit as a trial to the following year scrambling to figure out how they could buy three more. They put one in every network engineer's hands permanently versus having to have one checked out that four guys fought over all the time.

    Truthfully, hindsight being what it is for me, I would fight tooth and nail to at least have one of these at the ready for as many people as I could. I really would try and get one for every full-time staff member.

    I'm not sure of the learning curve. I just hired a technician who has little to no networking experience. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

    For example, he doesn't know certain network protocols. He does have a lot of other skill sets, however, that all being said, for a basic technician, an out-of-the-box could pick up some things fairly quickly and likely be off the races with a little bit of direction in 30 minutes or less. I would say the ease of use, and the ease of adaptability are probably there. Probably, it wouldn't take too long for an average person to hit a ceiling limit though, to where they are beyond some of the basics, and they might struggle a little bit, especially if they know little about networking.

    They could ramp up quickly for some basics and get to become intermediate with it fairly quickly and then stall a little bit for a while until they either had some direction or some expert to give them a little bit of guidance. However, once you know a little bit more about it, do research, or watch some YouTube videos, maybe you could be off the races in short order. If you're a geek like me, who's just fascinated by technology and wants to learn a lot, you could spend an hour or two to be very well-versed in it and fall in love with the hardware and the software. It will then become a very key part of your daily routine or process and become priceless very quickly. It's nice to have one tool that can do ten or fifteen functions easily. Those ten or fifteen functions are reliable and they're not going to let me down or give me false data.

    I'd rate the solution ten out of ten. I use it, I believe in it, and I trust it. I've got to know some of the staff through the beta program. I realize my view could be a little bit tainted on that level, however, the reality is that these guys are sharp. They care and they listen whenever a beta customer like myself finds something.

    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.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Dan Jones - PeerSpot reviewer
    Principle Wireless Engineer at Natilik
    MSP
    Top 20
    Works well for wired and wireless networks, massively affects the efficiency and cost of troubleshooting, and pays for itself when you use it onsite just once or twice
    Pros and Cons
    • "The things that I find most valuable are the Wi-Fi app and the Discovery app. Those two things help a lot when I'm doing the initial discovery of a space. I also use the AutoTest feature quite a lot, especially if I'm troubleshooting."
    • "AirMapper is very quick and easy once everything is on there, but I would like to see an improvement on how you get things on there. Currently, rather than being able to build up buildings or a site of things, every map is an individual piece. We should be able to set up an AirMapper survey easily and more effectively. At the moment, we just have separate floor plans. It'd be great to be able to build a building and tell where different floors are so that if it hears an AP on the floor below, it doesn't put two APs, one on that floor and one on the other floor, and it knows that there are two floors here. One is on top of the other, and it won't put the AP at both places. It would put it on one of the floors where it would be strongest. This would be one of the biggest improvements."

    What is our primary use case?

    I'm a wireless engineer. I do both troubleshooting and design. I use NetAlly EtherScope nXG mainly as a troubleshooting device, and I also use it to collect data so that when I do my designs, I have all of the data that I need.

    How has it helped my organization?

    One of the great things about it is that it is a small and portable device. We're based in London, and we had a customer in New York. We were finding it really difficult to troubleshoot a problem remotely even though we had cloud-based controllers and other things for wireless. It was an intermittent problem that was difficult for us to replicate. So, I ended up sending the device to the customer. They were able to set it up and plug it in. Because it can charge over PoE, they were able to just leave it there, and then effectively, I could log into that device through Link-Live. I could run all the tests that I needed to run. I could have the AutoTest running for 24 hours, and then I could look at that data. We figured out what the problem was. I was able to do remote packet captures and other things. We were able to fix the problem, and they just shipped the unit back to us. That was obviously much cheaper than me flying over to New York for two weeks. I could carry on with the work that I was booked into day to day, but I was also able to log in and look at things over there. It was really useful to be able to just send that device and get that fixed. It has basically enabled me to be in two places at once, which is invaluable. There aren't a lot of wireless engineers. So, the fact that I can be both in New York and in London at the same time is the value that we are getting from it.

    It is easy to use for less skilled staff but has deep diagnostics for experts on staff. I told the customer at the New York site to just walk around with it and let it do everything it needs to do because I'm connected via wireless. After walking around, they said that this is a problem area, and then effectively, I could just run the device. For something simple, I could get them to click on something, but if I wanted to run more of a test, I could just remotely use the device. I told them, "Stick this in the middle somewhere and make sure it has got PoE power. I can run everything I need to run. Don't worry about it, and when I've got everything I need, just ship it back to me."

    Its multi-technology functionality when it comes to validating network changes, troubleshooting connectivity, and detecting performance issues is very helpful. A lot of the time, it is proving that it isn't a Wi-Fi problem. The nice thing about having a product that has all of it in there is that I can test not just the wireless; I can also test up the stack. If everything looks good from the wireless side, I can then start to troubleshoot up the stack. No other product that I have gives me that flexibility.

    I create my own tests. The test is different for each site depending on what I am troubleshooting or what applications they're using. To be able to just leave something and collect data over time is really valuable.

    I have made use of its full line-rate 10 Gig capability. Because I've two nXGs, I can use the LANBERT tester as well. I've done that a few times where customers have got pre-existing cabling, and they said that they will have to completely rip out the cabling to be able to go with the new 6 GHz APs and things like that. In such cases, I've been able to just test that cabling and tell them that this cabling will be absolutely fine. There is no need to rip it out, which obviously makes the customer quite happy because it means that they don't have an additional cost of re-cabling everything.

    It is a handheld tool, which makes it easy to use, and you do use it. Some of the other tools that we have are great tools, but because they're cumbersome and they require you to put lots of things in and have lots of extra things attached to them, you only use them if you absolutely have to, whereas you can use this tool every time because it is portable and easy.

    The AirMapper Site Survey app is brilliant at gathering WiFi site survey data, and the Link-Live service that you have afterward is the crown jewel of it. You can easily share that with customers. All that data is readily available on any platform, which is really good. I can use an iPad, I can use a Mac, or I can use a Windows device. It doesn't matter.

    The Link-Live part of the whole system is very good. You can build up reports. You can create heat maps, and you can have all that other data in there as well. You can have raw test data, and you can have your discovery data. It is all there in one place, and then you can easily share that with customers. It is very good in terms of the ability to visualize key performance metrics. It has got everything we need, and it is clear for customers too.

    It impacts our ability to validate changes or troubleshoot problems. I use it for both. It has the data, and I can also see the before and after. I can go onsite really easily and collect that data. I can then make changes based on the recommendations and then go back to the site and see the difference between how it was before and how it is afterward. Being able to display that and easily show that to the customer is a great thing, and I'm not printing off 100-page reports. I can just send a link.

    It has provided visibility into the network that we could only get by using many other tools. It has both the wireless and the wired in one device, and that's the thing that separates it from anything else on the market. You get some really good wired devices. You get some really good wireless-only devices. This is the only one that I've come across that has not just both of them but also a lot of detail and a lot of expertise in both of those areas. It has affected the efficiency and cost of our network troubleshooting massively. I didn't have to fly to New York for two weeks. It is helpful for the remote support that we can offer to customers. It is so much easier for us to send that device than it is for us to send a Level 3 or Level 4 engineer.

    It has reduced the troubleshooting time. Now, I can walk onto the site and within a couple of minutes, I'm able to determine if this is a wireless problem or a wired problem. I still have everything I need to fix that problem, whereas previously, I would either have to take a lot of equipment with me, which is expensive and a hassle, or I would turn up thinking it is a wireless problem and not have the other equipment with me, and then I would have to come back another day or book in another session. I don't have the actual number of time saved, but I wouldn't go anywhere without this equipment now.

    What is most valuable?

    The things that I find most valuable are the Wi-Fi app and the Discovery app. Those two things help a lot when I'm doing the initial discovery of a space. I also use the AutoTest feature quite a lot, especially if I'm troubleshooting.

    It is one of the best solutions for finding network problems quickly. The Discovery app that I use as I'm walking around the site picks up loads of things such as retries, APs that are using wrong channels, APs that are moving channels regularly because of DSS events, etc. That's one of the best features that I use the most.

    What needs improvement?

    We should be able to do online wireless design through Link-Live. We should be able to take the information that we've gathered and send a customer the way to fix it, in terms of moving APs and how that would affect things, within Link-Live.

    The ease of use of AirMapper could do with some improvements. I don't use the AirMapper Site Survey app a lot. I have used it recently with the new 6 GHz device because effectively, it is the only device I have that can do that. For most of my site surveys, I use a different tool. AirMapper is very quick and easy once everything is on there, but I would like to see an improvement on how you get things on there. Currently, rather than being able to build up buildings or a site of things, every map is an individual piece. We should be able to set up an AirMapper survey easily and more effectively. At the moment, we just have separate floor plans. It'd be great to be able to build a building and tell where different floors are so that if it hears an AP on the floor below, it doesn't put two APs, one on that floor and one on the other floor, and it knows that there are two floors here. One is on top of the other, and it won't put the AP at both places. It would put it on one of the floors where it would be strongest. This would be one of the biggest improvements.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've got two of these. I've been using them for about three years. I'm currently using the 6 GHz model.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is very stable and reliable. I've never had a crash, and I've never had it not collect data. It has always been rock solid.

    How are customer service and support?

    I've never had to use their support. Their documentation is good, but the main place I've gone to find out how to do things has been YouTube. When there is a new feature, or there is a webinar that's being recorded, I can just watch that back on YouTube.

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

    I've added the NetAlly solution to what I already had. It is not replacing these, but it is better than the tools that I still take with me. I'm a wireless engineer rather than a wired engineer, and I didn't have any Fluke or Netscout products previously. I don't have a wired networking tester. I do have Ekahau, and I still use that. With NetAlly, I've now got additional capability that I didn't have previously. I used to have a separate device for doing packet captures, which effectively is just my laptop with USB wireless cards plugged into it, and now, I don't use that. I just use EtherScope nXG.

    What was our ROI?

    In terms of the return on investment, when you use it onsite once or twice, it has already paid for itself. I've said to people that it makes your life so much easier when you're onsite, especially if you're troubleshooting, that it doesn't make sense to not pay for it.

    The main benefit is that it just saves time. It saves time on the site. Because it is a handheld device and I can walk around with it, I don't have to walk around with my laptop everywhere. My site visits now are 50% of what they were previously because I'm able to gather that data at the same time. I'm not having to go back and use different tools or take lots of different things to do it. This one tool allows me to do it all in one go or one sweep of the building. A site survey that might've taken two days can be done in a day now. It takes me less time, and I can charge more per day. It also means that on the second day that I would've been there, I can be on another site, effectively earning money twice.

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

    It is worth it. The cost benefit of Link-Live is massive because it is included with the cost of the device and the licensing. A lot of people miss that part of it. It is not just the device that you get but it is the ability to look at all of that data later on. You're not having to do all of that on the device. You can just be there, use the device, and then look at the data from the comfort of your office or home afterward.

    What other advice do I have?

    I am currently the only user of this equipment, and I also take care of its maintenance. I've planned an internal demo of the equipment for some of the other engineers in the company. Some of our NOC engineers and some of our wired engineers could really use something like this.

    It is relatively easy to learn. There are a lot of videos and other resources that you can check out. A lot of the content is pretty intuitive. The only issue is that because there is so much there, people might feel that they don't really understand where to start with this. However, if people have a particular problem they're trying to solve, they will be able to figure out how to solve that because it has everything they need. There is just so much in there that when people first start out, they won't necessarily know where to go to check something out, but most people who are buying this type of solution would be savvy enough to open everything, figure out where everything is, and then go with it. I certainly had no problem.

    I would rate it 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.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    NetAlly EtherScope nXG
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetAlly EtherScope nXG. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    620,987 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Jonathan-Davis - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Network Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    It's easy to hand this solution to someone else and get them to provide consistent results
    Pros and Cons
    • "When it comes to that remote troubleshooting perspective of being able to survey an area to see if there are problems, make adjustments, and then have that same individual resurvey that same area, I don't have to send people to a week long class on how to use the device. I know I am getting consistent results, which can verify near real-time, and whether or not the changes that I have implemented solve the problem."
    • "I would love to see port profiles. This is something I've expressed to them. The ability for a technician to plug it into a switch port, and say, "Okay, this port will be an access point or this port will be a phone and desktop PC," thus choosing a profile. It will then push a configuration to the device it's connected to and verify that the switch port is correctly configured, so I can hand this to a phone tech who doesn't have any access to a network switch to be able to make changes. They can go out and plug this into a port, then they are able to push a profile to the switch port through the device. That would be pretty fantastic as a next step for this device."

    What is our primary use case?

    I use it regularly for both wired and wireless troubleshooting, performance testing, and verification.

    I am a customer and beta tester for NetAlly.

    How has it helped my organization?

    One of the reoccurring things that you will see here is it makes it really easy for me to hand this solution to someone else and get them to provide me consistent results. Often, especially in WiFi, one of the problems which occurs is we have highly specialized tools that take a lot of training and years of experience to optimally use. However, in the case of AirMapper, it's really easy for me to quickly demonstrate to someone, "Here is how you use the program," so they can create a heatmap of an area that I may not be at, whether it's across the city, state, or country. It's easy for me to provide that support. Then, the data is easy to review on Link-Live (almost instantaneously) once they are finished completing that walking survey. The most important feature is that those heatmaps do go to Link-Live and are accessible on Link-Live.

    When it comes to that remote troubleshooting perspective of being able to survey an area to see if there are problems, make adjustments, and then have that same individual resurvey that same area, I don't have to send people to a week long class on how to use the device. I know I am getting consistent results, which can verify near real-time, and whether or not the changes that I have implemented solve the problem.

    The AutoTest feature has improved the way our company functions. With any large enterprise, you regularly have separation of duties. Your systems teams are generally responsible for your DNS and DHCP services. These are not a network function. In some situations, you might even have a security team who is responsible for managing the back-end services: RADIUS, ClearPass, or ACS, which are the back-end for 802.1x. Sometimes there can be a situation where a user reports, "A wireless problem", but the reality is that the wireless is functioning perfectly. The responsible party might be the systems team, the security team, or it maybe something non-related. Because the AutoTest checks and verifies each of those steps, this provides a clear, very easy to understand, dissected explanation. Then, the device is able to associate and authenticate, completing the four-way handshake, that gets the encryptions working. 

    For example, if AutoTest was able to get an IP address, but as soon as it tried to do a DNS lookup, things failed. This is a really easy way of now going to talk to the systems team and saying, "Hey, we have a DNS problem. This isn't a WiFi problem, and it's not a problem in the wireless network. This is a DNS server that's not responding. Let's dig into why". It has clear test procedures that provide very clear, easy to understand results that make it simple for anyone to do some basic troubleshooting. More importantly, they can dive deep quickly into a problem to identify the source rather than just simply relying on a user's experience.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature would be the wireless testing capability. 

    The newer features are becoming part of my workflow as well with AirMapper by being able to display coverage in a particular area, e.g., doing small surveys in a particular room or area. 

    The ability to remotely troubleshoot: Being able to connect it up from my desk, then do wireless testing (or something along those lines) elsewhere. 

    The Ethernet testing and verifying for the network connection makes sure it: 

    • Goes into an access point or device.
    • Correctly configured. 
    • Provides the proper POE
    • Has the correct links.
    • Verifies that my cable installers are delivering on what they promised.

    I know when I run AutoTest what I should expect as far as response times from DHCP and DNS. It allows me to create a consistent test that runs exactly the same way every time. Then, whenever I hand it to someone else who isn't as familiar with all of the individual steps, I know that as long as they're running that AutoTest profile, it's the exact same thing as me being there running the testing. Because those results are consistent, when there are inconsistencies, I can assume that it is network or system related rather than user related.

    Link-Live's ability to visualize key performance metrics covers the basics quite well. It provides me enough information so I can go, "Yes, this is a signal problem or an SNR problem." Then, I can take it to the next step, "Okay, it's not a physical layer problem because signal, SNR, and all of those things meet expectations. Or, it points out those areas." I can't say that it provides all of the metrics I need, but at least it provides that quick view so I can look at the basics of the physical RF and verify that those do/don't meet the specifications.

    This solution provides visibility into our network that we could only get by using many other tools. While there are other tools that provide the same function, it does a great job of covering the basics of a lot of tools all in a single package. For example, some of the other alternatives out there for testing networks end-to-end will do that perfectly fine, but they don't do heatmapping. Ultimately, it's a single toolbox that my support staff and I need to learn. This is rather than having six different solutions that each do their own thing. It's a single device/solution, where if you learn it and learn it well, you can replicate results from disparate systems.

    What needs improvement?

    The test profiles could be improved a bit. It could be better at managing and adding them, but more importantly, switching between different profiles. Some of the results from the tests could go a little deeper - maybe with an expert mode that allows you to review the pcap for any part of the process, such as, an automatic pcap generation. Especially on Link-Live, I would love it if they would make it so that you could see the capture file. For example, if you go to the DCP request portion of that report, then in a second screen, it will show you the capture file in the pcap. I think there is a lot of ability to improve this area.

    I would love to see port profiles. This is something I've expressed to them. The ability for a technician to plug it into a switch port, and say, "Okay, this port will be an access point or this port will be a phone and desktop PC," thus choosing a profile. It will then push a configuration to the device it's connected to and verify that the switch port is correctly configured, so I can hand this to a phone tech who doesn't have any access to a network switch to be able to make changes. They can go out and plug this into a port, then they are able to push a profile to the switch port through the device. That would be pretty fantastic as a next step for this device.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Nine months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I handle maintenance for the devices, which includes:

    • Semi-regularly, NetAlly pushes out firmware updates, which are fairly easy to run via Link-Live. 
    • Quarterly, checking firmware updates and ensuring that everything is up-to-date.
    • The initial setup and configuration of the AutoTest profiles and those components.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There are five people who use EtherScope in my company. Their roles include network admin, network engineer, server and system admin, and unified communications admin.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have not used NetAlly's techincal/customer support for this solution.

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

    Previously, I used some older Fluke devices before going with EtherScope.

    I have been really impressed with NetAlly and the way they are advancing the product. Every year, they release a new major revision. Those major revisions are incorporating features that customers have asked for. They are incorporating new capabilities into the existing piece of hardware which expands its capabilities. That is the biggest thing followed by the ease of use for people who I might hand it to.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI in man-hours, time to resolution by shortening the time that systems are down and affecting users, and its ability to find problems before they are experienced by end users (dealing with the problem before it is a problem). 

    EtherScope has reduced our troubleshooting times. I think the average person who goes from no tools to this tool would probably see a 20 or 30 percent reduction in time to repair or resolution. I have so many tools, if anything, sometimes it might take me the longer to just decide which tool I want to use. 

    The solution has made our networking staff more productive. From the perspective of my junior network admin whom I regularly hand this tool to, it probably saves one or two man-hours a week because of the all-in-one interface. This allows him to troubleshoot wired and wireless quickly.

    The learning curve is moderate. I don't think this is a device that you can just simply hand to somebody and say, "Here it is. Use it." I think AirCheck G2 (another one of NetAlly's devices) is that the type of device where I can pretty much hand it to somebody who has never used it before. I can let them play with it for five minutes and maybe answer a question or two, then they are ready to go. I don't think EtherScope is that easy, but I do think that it is easy enough that I can spend 35 or 40 minutes with someone showing them the ins and outs of the device, then they can use it for most of their tasks. While the learning curve is moderate, spending 30 minutes teaching someone how to use this device can save me hours. Therefore, I feel like there is a really good return on the investment of my time in doing the training, because it's not such a complex device that I have to send them off for a week of training just to be able to use it.

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

    For the average network shop, the cost is a bit high. In a lot of organizations, people don't share test devices between teams. Generally, you need a device for the network team and a device for the system team, the security team, etc. While the cost is a little on the high side, that is offset by the regular updates and continued improvements that NetAlly adds to the device. Those improvements continue to increase the perceived value of the device.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I pretty much use all the solutions in one form or another because I do a lot of testing for a bunch of companies. So, I have definitely evaluated a lot of other products.

    I also use NetAlley AirCheck G2.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would tell other engineers to decide what their total testing needs are: 

    • To resolve whether or not they need wired and wireless testing? 
    • Do they need to be able to test copper and fiber? 
    • Do they need to be able to test just pure physical and verify that the cabling is correctly installed? Or, do they need to be able to test Layers 2, 3, and 4, as far as verifying that the network is fully functioning and network services are available? 
    • Is the Internet available in their internal servers and external servers? Is it responding?

    I would tell them to look at what they need to test, then look at the devices which are capable of running what they need to test. If they find themselves in a situation where they do need to test all of those various things, then I don't think they are going to find a better all-in-one solution than EtherScope.

    Would it make sense to hand a EtherScope nXG to a cabling guy? No, it absolutely doesn't. I wouldn't recommend that. However, so many of us perform lots of roles, have to troubleshoot, and test in a lot of different scenarios. In those situations, we do need a tool that is capable of testing all of the various layers, both wired and wireless, and can verify things remotely. EtherScope is a single tool that performs all of these tasks.

    I have only tested to 1 gig at this point.

    I would rate it a solid eight. I think that there are a lot of places it could be improved, but for the average user, it solves the majority of their problems and concerns.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Ryan Ulrick - PeerSpot reviewer
    Consulting Engineer at CDW
    Real User
    Multi-media technology gives me the flexibility to reliably test copper, fiber and wireless network infrastructure at the push of a button.
    Pros and Cons
    • "The whole product is valuable because it's really a bunch of features that make up the one testing utility. Between auto tests, wireless assessments, its ability to do iPerf speed and traffic testing, as well as packet captures — all of those really contribute to a very successful product and allow me to do my job in a better manner."
    • "The only improvement I can come up with is the battery life. If they could improve the battery life, that would be great."

    What is our primary use case?

    I currently work as an Enterprise and Data Center Network Consultant. Because of that I’m in a wide variety of customer environments that change constantly. The flexibility of the nXG allows me to keep it with me, no matter where I am and know I have the resource to perform wired, copper or fiber, and wireless network testing. This flexibility allows me to have instill my customers with confidence after an install that their network services are available and functioning as expected.

    How has it helped my organization?

    As a consultant, one of my primary jobs when designing and deploying network infrastructure is determining a test plan that will be utilized to verify network services and resources are available once work is complete. The nXG provides a versatile testing platform for a variety of media and gives a user the ability to pre-define test conditions. Once defined I can attach the Etherscope to the network and run my tests to confirm a successful installation, or to identify problems within the infrastructure that need to be remedied. With this ability to run test plans efficiently I'm able to proactively improve the Quality of Experience an end-user will have before they even know a new solution is in place.

    Given the fact that my job is variable by nature — I'm always with different customers, I'm always in different environments — the ability to carry a single, small, handheld unit that can provide all of this testing, troubleshooting and analysis capability is a game changer. With previous iterations of the NetAlly products, many of these great features were present, but they weren't as flexible - one may not be able to test wireless, or, perform 10 Gigabit testing - and there were times I would end up at a customer site with the wrong tester in my bag and have to find another solution, or waste time retrieving one of my other testers. Now, it's all in a single unit. I never have to worry that the unit I'm carrying won't have the feature set I need that day. I'm able to demonstrate to my customers how much value can be added by simply pulling a tool out of my backpack, plugging it into the network, and analyzing the problem. As an engineers I can then verify the problem and fix it in one fell swoop. I'm able to eliminate a lot of the intermediary work that would have been present had I not had an all-in-one tester.

    While I haven't kept logs of when I use the product, how often, and how much time it has saved me, I would estimate that in troubleshooting and testing situations I have increased my efficiency by roughly 50% with the addition of the Etherscope nXG to my tool set. 

    What is most valuable?

    I don't think I can really hone in on a specific feature that has made this product valuable to me. Its unique combination of testing, analysis and troubleshooting tools packaged into a single unit in a reliable, efficient and aesthetically pleasing platform has been fantastic. The ability to perform packet captures, traffic analysis, iPerf testing and more in the palm of my hand has contributed to a wildly successful product and contributed to my ability to drive customer satisfaction in a big way. 

    The multi-technology functionality of the solution (ie. the fact that it does WiFi and wired Ethernet analysis up to 10GB speeds in one device) has really been a huge improvement in the NetAlly products. Previously, while some of the older generations I worked with had those capabilities, they could only do a little bit of wireless or a little bit of wired, but they couldn't really do the whole spectrum together. This product has allowed me to slip one conveniently sized utility into my bag wherever I'm going and know that, right there in my bag, I have the resources to do any of fiber, wired Ethernet, or wireless testing, without having to dig into a bag if I need to change technologies or for adapters or for a different test. It's all one, convenient, centralized unit.

    I use the pre-programmed AutoTest feature as a starting point and, overall, it is a very successful utility. It provides a wealth of information to the user. AutoTest isn't just a, "Is your network good to go or is it not?", type utility. The software will analyze the network conditions and provide valuable output to the user to aid in identifying network issues. It will also provide you a detailed readout on how the various test were performed, what step a tes failed out and what caused the failure. For example, if it had to wait too long for a DHCP address to be assigned, or if it couldn't reach a destination, it will provide that output as well. AutoTest provides a large amount of information for quite a few test parameters in one convenient dashboard. It also has the ability to upload those results to NetAlly's Link-Live Cloud Service. That has been invaluable for sharing results among my team members and analyzing results after the fact.

    I also make use of the solution's full line-rate 10 gigabit capability very frequently. I have customers who have 10 gigabit or higher infrastructure in their organizations and, whether we have to do speed testing on those units or we simply need to connect to a port that is a 10 gigabit line rate port and determine information about it, having this small unit is wonderful. While NetAlly's OneTouch could handle 10 gigabit, it was roughly the size of a large book. It was pretty difficult to carry around conveniently or break out in the event that I needed to utilize it.

    As a handheld tool, the functionality is incredible. I'm always working with one technology or another, but it's all focused around networking. This single unit can provide me the troubleshooting and analysis capabilities of five or six tools that I would've had to carry before and it fits in my backpack. I can carry it with me all the time, charge it very easily via USB-C and immediately have it available and ready to use in a customer environment. 

    In addition, the solution is easy to use for less skilled staff, but has deep diagnostics for experts. Many times when I'm onsite, I'll hand my tester to someone who may be a manager or on maintenance staff in that department. I'll send them to a closet to test the cable for me when I'm on the other end looking at a console or other readout, so that I can see the results and what's happening. They're very easily able to plug in the device, hit AutoTest on the screen and press start. It's as easy as that.

    There are a variety of tools out there for things like packet capture and speed rate testing. But having them all in the single unit is invaluable. You're able to walk up to a device, plug it in, and, if you need to take a packet capture for troubleshooting, it's right there, built into the device. If you need to do a speed test, it's built in. Whereas before, you'd have to have dedicated applications, pull out a laptop, make sure you had the right thing installed and, if not, go install it, and then perform the testing.

    What needs improvement?

    I've really had some positive experience with this product. But eventually, and I know it's not something that can be built directly into this product, I would like to see NetAlly provide a device, even if it's larger or more expensive, that can test the higher rate speeds like, 40 or 100 gigabits per second.

    The only improvement I can come up with is the battery life. If they could improve the battery life, that would be great.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used NetAlly products for several years. The Etherscope nXG in particular I've been using since its launch in October 2019. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I've never had an issue with its stability.

    How are customer service and support?

    I have not had to interact with their technical support, which I think shows a lot, since I use it pretty regularly.

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

    I've always used NetAlly solutions: I've used their OneTouch device, as well as their OneTouch G2, OneTouch AT, and LinkSprinters. I'm pretty sure I've used every physical product that NetAlly provides.

    What was our ROI?

    I have definitely seen return on my investment with this solution.

    To me, it's invaluable. Time-saving, when I'm working with such a wide variety of customers and going from site to site, is one of the most important things that can be improved in my position. Having this tester, the ability to utilize it for quick troubleshooting while I'm on-the-fly, keeping it with me all the times when I'm traveling between customer sites, has been something that I wouldn't place a price point on.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you're on the fence reach out to your regional account representative within NetAlly and request a demo of the product before anything else. It is a solid enough product that seeing it in use, even within a NetAlly demo, makes it very clear to many customers and many technical decision-makers how valuable a product like this can be in an organization. Its value is very easily shown and very easily understood by a wide variety of people. Requesting that demo and looking at it before purchasing is always a great step, but it will definitely reinforce the decision to do so.

    Also, read the documentation. If there's something that you don't understand, or the output of a test looks unclear, or it's something that you haven't seen before, look at the documentation before anything else. Within the manual they very clearly detail all the potential test results, what they mean, and what implications they have. The fact that the manual is available right on the device in a PDF reader is great.

    In addition, make sure to look at the app store that's available on the device. It's curated by NetAlly and it has tools that are vetted and specific for troubleshooting and analyzing networks. That app store has a wealth of applications that can be used in addition to what NetAlly has already built.

    I would rate the EtherScope nXG at nine out of 10, because there is always room for new features and improvement in any product. That being said, NetAlly has built an incredibly stable product that provides a large amount of value to anyone using 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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
    PeerSpot user
    John D'Amico - PeerSpot reviewer
    President / System Engineer at Klipsys Technologies LLC
    Real User
    You can do almost everything with one person and this tool
    Pros and Cons
    • "It cuts the time down in half. You don't need to get a laptop out and do different testing. We can just grab this one tool, bring it, and do all our network testing, surveying, and reviews to figure out what the problems are with just one device, instead of having to use multiple people and devices to do that. You cut down time by 50% because you won't normally need multiple people onsite. A lot of times, you can do everything with one person and one tool."
    • "We have had to use a battery pack unit, bringing it with us, when we are doing long testing or a lot of testing. It is like a mini computer, so it does use a lot of battery life."

    What is our primary use case?

    We do a lot of network testing and network installs. We also do a lot of wireless installs.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has given us the ability to properly map an area and ensure our wireless was done correctly. We were used to doing regular testing of Wi-Fi in areas, but when we would come back to check and make sure our access points were put in the proper locations, we could never really know 100% without a device like this. Now that we have this device, we can test, modify, move things, and change things to the best of the business's ability. We know we are actually doing it correctly because we can visually see the wireless and that areas are covered properly without trying to take educated guesses.

    What is most valuable?

    We use the solution’s AirMapper Site Survey app to create heat maps in the vendor’s Link-Live Cloud Service. It works really well. It allows you to change things live after you take the mapping and see how those heat maps would change based on your changes. It works really well to view all the different functions once you have taken in all the data. It is great for visualizing key performance metrics. It shows us a metrics screen that gives you the ability to modify the way you are looking at different metrics as well as how they overlay with each other.

    The AirMapper Site Survey app helps you validate changes because you can see where your problem areas are, make the modifications, and then retest and review based on the changes that you have made. Therefore, it gives you great visual mapping of any changes that you need to make or have made.

    If you are trying to troubleshoot because you are not getting enough wireless in one area, the AirMapper Site Survey app allows you to visualize all the areas on a map in your business or client's location. It allows you to make changes based on that map. You can then retest to ensure the changes have taken effect.

    What needs improvement?

    We have had to use a battery pack unit, bringing it with us, when we are doing long testing or a lot of testing. It is like a mini computer, so it does use a lot of battery life.

    It is great that both skilled and less skilled individuals can use it. While both can use it, the unskilled staff still needs a little bit of knowledge and training to use it. It is not a simple, test-and-go type of solution. They still need to understand a little bit about what they are testing and where they are going. 

    I would like a little bit more online training. Some more video training would be a little more helpful so we can send somebody to the training and have them actually review it a little bit. However, there is a lot of training. If they could make the training a little bit easier to find and use, it might be helpful.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been very stable. Even though it is a mini computer, I have never had any crashes, errors, or problems with it. It always just works.

    How are customer service and support?

    We have the maintenance service through NetAlly. We pay for their support. It has always been good when I have had to call. When we first got it, we had to call a couple times to work out some issues. The support was very good and responsive. However, the device works so well that we haven't really had to use the support with it. Originally, it was just some software support on how to do a few things, and that is all. I would rate their support as nine or 10 out of 10. They have been great.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    EtherScope shows you a lot of data. You will sometimes need other tools with it to do certain things, but the majority of the data can be seen with just this one tool. Before, we had to use multiple tools to map out the network or gather data the correct way. At least with this, it can gather all of that with one interface.

    We have used Fluke tools. We still have some Fluke network stuff, but they were originally the same company, so we have Fluke equipment. We also have some very cheap equipment that we were using for line testing. 

    We needed something that could work when testing 10 gigs. We also needed the Wi-Fi survey abilities. That is why we switched over to using this device. It was an all-in-one type of device that could do everything that we needed when we had to go out to a site. We didn't have to worry about bringing multiple tools or a laptop plus our line testers. We can do everything from one device.

    What was our ROI?

    We saw a return on our investment in the first year. We probably saved about 50% of our time on just troubleshooting different things. We also saw a return on investment from being able to do Wi-Fi surveys. Originally, we didn't have any survey equipment or tools. We would do as much as we could with laptops, cheap software, and testing. This device allowed us to do high quality Wi-Fi surveys, especially for our large businesses. It also helped us cut down on costs when we were doing Wi-Fi access points and installations. Now we can see, "Well, we really don't need this many. We can do this many." Then, we can test afterwards and make sure that we have deployed everything correctly. So, we have gained money and time from it.

    It cuts the time down in half. You don't need to get a laptop out and do different testing. We can just grab this one tool, bring it, and do all our network testing, surveying, and reviews to figure out what the problems are with just one device, instead of having to use multiple people and devices to do that. You cut down time by 50% because you won't normally need multiple people onsite. A lot of times, you can do everything with one person and one tool.

    EtherScope has made our networking staff 100% more productive. It has saved us numerous hours.

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

    As a business owner, it was a high price. However, it was well worth it. We have gotten our money out of it and continue to get our money out of it. For the price and usability, it is definitely worth it. The Wi-Fi survey capabilities alone justifies the price. Having all the other tools in it really adds to that. 

    There is other software that you can buy to integrate with the surveys for other testing. While it is an additional cost for some of the other software, it is still worth it if you will be doing all that stuff for clients and installations.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at some other tools. We looked at some of the Fluke equipment again, and then some other cheaper versions, to see if we could save some money and buy these. We then decided that we were better off going with a device where we knew we could get good support, and it was. These devices were made well and had great reviews. So, we decided to go with NetAlly equipment.

    The device is like a mini computer so we can do multiple things from it that a lot of these other devices couldn't do. It is a company who has been doing this for a long time so they make really good equipment. That is why we went with NetAlly. We'd rather stick with a company that makes good equipment and has been around for a while doing it. We didn't want to take a chance with a cheaper third-party device that was going to give us problems a year down the road.

    What other advice do I have?

    Since I have used other tools before, I don't think it has a high learning curve. You will need to know networks and what you are doing before you just dive into it. Some general training is helpful, unless you have used some of NetAlly's products. It is a little more extensive than using just a simple line tester because it is actually more of a computer with applications and configurations of applications. So, there is a little bit higher of a learning curve than just a standard test this line and go.

    Generally, we have anywhere from five to six users at a time, though not at the same time. They are testing during different periods of time for different types of things, doing testing, Wi-Fi surveys, etc. Only two of them are network engineers. The other ones are more computer and testing guys. Sometimes, they will have to test a line or they are running wire. So, we have wiring techs, who will use it to do some line tests, ensure lines are good as well as the signals are great over them, etc.

    I would advise you to get Etherscope. We originally bought it for the Wi-Fi surveys. If you are planning to do a Wi-Fi survey, this is probably one of the best products that I have ever used for it. I know there is software out there that you still need to use a laptop and carry it around or buy devices with it. However, this product is really great for just walking around and doing your survey right on the device. You can then upload it to the web and have this great heat map, which you can then check out. You can even give your clients access to it. You can send them PDF files for it. It is done very well. 

    Other than maybe the battery and some of the cost of it, it is a great product and definitely worth it. I would rate it as nine out of 10.

    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
    Andrii Danylov - PeerSpot reviewer
    Systems Engineer at IT Management Corp
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Improves our workflow by quickly identifying the network details we need, saving us time
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable feature is the ability to identify the switchboards, when you plug the EtherScope into the network drop, and all other details about the switch. This is very useful because when you are not in that IDF or network closet but far away from that switch, you can identify the board and then configure the board for your needs, remotely."
    • "There are some inconsistencies in how it uploads the test results to the cloud, but it might just need a minor improvement on the software side. When you don't have an internet connection on the EtherScope when you do the testing, it saves the results into memory. When it has an internet connection, it uploads those results, but it doesn't work all the time. Sometimes, you need to manually push it."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our company is an IT integrator and we have a lot of work on different kinds of IP networks. We deploy networks, we troubleshoot them, and we optimize them. The EtherScope is very useful in our day-to-day activities when we are onsite too, for example, to check the network drop, which port is on the switch, and to see all the details about the switch.

    We also use it to test cables for any kind of damage. It tests all eight wires in the internet cable. It has a small dongle that you can put on the other side of the cable and know the exact length and condition of the cable.

    We also use it for testing high bandwidth links, such as 10 Gb fiber links between different buildings, or even different sites. We can use the EtherScope to run a speed test to see what the max capacity is that we can achieve on the fiber.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It helps us to be faster. It definitely improves our workflow because it helps to identify the details that we need from the network pretty quickly, and that saves time. It's definitely a good and valuable asset for our company.

    Also, the EtherScope can replace multiple tools. With one tool we can get a lot of insights, from different angles, into the network. The level of detail, from such a simple-to-use tool, is hard to achieve with other such products. There is software on the market, but it's much more sophisticated for getting the same results and details. The benefit is that it's just one tool. The cost is not cheap but it totally pays for itself because it can do so much. For an IT integrator or IT consultancy, it is a must-have tool for troubleshooting customer networks.

    In some cases, it has significantly reduced troubleshooting time; we can find the issue faster than before. The reduction in troubleshooting time depends on the issue, but if a user reports, for example, that he has intermittent connectivity on WiFi, this tool can reduce troubleshooting time by half.

    It has made our networking staff more productive. We don't use the tool every day because we don't have that many customer issues. This tool is primarily for troubleshooting issues, and we have a lot of other activities besides troubleshooting. I would approximate that it has halved the time we normally require, giving our staff that much more time for other things.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is the ability to identify the switch port ID, when you plug the EtherScope into the network drop, and many other details about the switch. This is very useful because when you are not in that IDF or network closet but far away from that switch, you can identify the port and then configure it for your needs remotely. It is very useful to know exactly which port and what exactly the switch is. EtherScope can tell if there are network connectivity and access to the Internet along with the info about the switch. That's the most frequently used and the most valuable feature for us.

    Another very useful feature is the WiFi analysis. The EtherScope helps us to see if there is any interference in the wireless and it shows radio channels capacity and current utilization with the number of connected clients on those channels. It shows the channelization (width of the band)of both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It is extremely useful for on-spot WiFi analysis and identifying problems in that area.

    The multi-technology functionality of the solution, the fact that it does WiFi and wired Ethernet analysis in one device, is also very useful. This combination of different technologies in one device is very handy when you need to do some troubleshooting on site when there is a problem with the network and you don't know where to start. You can test both wired and wireless connections and identify the issue pretty quickly.

    We use the pre-programmed AutoTest feature all the time for both wired and wireless. It has all kinds of possible tests in one test that is run automatically. It's very handy to see the results on different layers of the network.

    As I mentioned, we use the full line-rate 10 Gb capability to test the fiber speed, the connection between the server and the distribution panel. We run the re-installed application, installed inside the EtherScope. We can run data between the EtherScope and the server and this shows the true throughput that can be achieved, and it can be fiber or Cat 6 cable. It has very rich functionality and its compact size adds a lot of value because it's very convenient to carry it and use it. 

    The fact that it is battery operated is also very good.

    The tool can be used by anyone with basic technical knowledge. That person can capture all the information. Another great capability of the EtherScope is that it allows you to upload the results to the cloud at the time the test was done, and then, someone with better expertise can access those results and provide analysis. But to use it, you don't need to be technically educated. It's easy to use.

    What needs improvement?

    The battery life is a little bit too short.

    Also, there are some inconsistencies in how it uploads the test results to the cloud, but it might just need a minor improvement on the software side. When you don't have an internet connection on the EtherScope when you do the testing, it saves the results into memory. When it has an internet connection, it uploads those results, but it doesn't work all the time. Sometimes, you need to manually push it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using NetAlly EtherScope nXG for around one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I'm pretty impressed, it is pretty stable. I haven't seen any sudden shutdown or any kind of serious bugs. It works fine.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their technical support is excellent. I've had some support requests and the response time was good and my issues were resolved.

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

    We do have JDSU Cable Certifier. It's two big boxes and they're very expensive. We can test any type of cable with them, meaning copper or fibre, and it certifies that the connections on both ends of the cable are ready for data. It also measures the speed of the connection. 

    But now, we use EtherScope most of the time to test the cable and the connection. The Cable Certifiers are used only when we run the cable, but not as much when we want to see if the cable is good and what its speed is.

    There is another tool that we have from Ekahau called Sidekick. It's a device for wireless troubleshooting and wireless mapping. It's actually a very advanced tool and we use it a lot. But the EtherScope has part of its functionality and the EtherScope is much easier to use. Also, the time it takes to use it is much shorter. You just turn on the EtherScope and walk around, versus the Ekahau where you need to prepare the project. So the EtherScope saves time on wireless troubleshooting. If it is not a case of wireless mapping, we definitely use the EtherScope and not the Ekahau.

    How was the initial setup?

    The solution is pretty easy to use and it has a good "how-to" manual with it. The learning curve is pretty short with this tool. It took me two or three hours to get to know it. This was the combined amount of time, because when you need, for example, to test the network drop, you don't need to go over all the features of the tool. So we learned it step by step, as we needed the functionality.

    We have five people using this tool. It depends on what project needs it, but they are mainly system network engineers and technicians. The usage is based on the incoming support requests. It is used about three days a week, on average.

    There is not that much maintenance for the device. I will update it from time to time if there is an update in the settings available for the server or operating system. But other than that, there is not that much maintenance on this tool.

    What was our ROI?

    We have definitely seen return on investment in terms of the time that we spend onsite and reduction in the amount we have to pay our workers as a result of that reduced time onsite.

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

    There isn't any license. The pricing is not bad. It's moderate, but the tool is worth the price.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at one other tool. I'm not sure if it was from Fluke Networks, but EtherScope is the only tool on the market with such rich functionality. We picked it pretty quickly.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's a great tool for network troubleshooting. It's an awesome tool.

    The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is that this is the tool to discover the issue. It's not that it helps to find something new but there are ways to discover the network details in a very efficient way and that's what EtherScope nXG offers.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Wayne Inniss - PeerSpot reviewer
    Field Support Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Eliminates the need for external resources to help troubleshoot
    Pros and Cons
    • "It has reduced our internal troubleshooting time. In the cases where we could not internally solve the troubleshooting, we would have had to contact an external vendor to test cable, rerun it, etc. NetAlly EtherScope has let us eliminate that in most cases so we can resolve an issue on our own without having to call a third-party out to identify the problem. It has reduced our troubleshooting time for network cabling issues by a good 75 percent."
    • "The battery life could be better. There have been a couple of times that I used it and put it down, then I went to pick it up and the battery was dead. So, I need to take the power cord with me in order to continue using it."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to troubleshoot network cabling issues as well as identify network ports and network connectivity issues from the end user to the switch. It is a device that helps us test cables and network connectivity.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has reduced our internal troubleshooting time. In the cases where we could not internally solve the troubleshooting, we would have had to contact an external vendor to test cable, rerun it, etc. NetAlly EtherScope has let us eliminate that in most cases so we can resolve an issue on our own without having to call a third-party out to identify the problem. It has reduced our troubleshooting time for network cabling issues by a good 75 percent. 

    What is most valuable?

    It has the ability to identify what VLAN the cable is connected to on the switch. If we go to an office and need to know where that other end goes, then we use it a lot for that so we can quickly trace out and identify cables. It is really good at that.

    The pre-programmed AutoTest feature has been good. I have no complaints with its ability to find network problems. For example, we had these power over Ethernet devices that we use for projections. So, if folks go into a conference room, they can wirelessly project to the projector, then that device is plugged in over the Ethernet. We had a cabling company come out and put in a bunch of cabling. They had it all mislabeled and wrong, so we use this device to correct the labeling and locate where those devices were actually plugged in. We needed to have those devices on a specific VLAN. Where the cabling company told us the cabling was, it wasn't there. It was on the wrong VLAN. This device allowed me to find out, not only what VLAN it was on, but exactly what port it was plugged into. Therefore, I was able to trace the cable on the back-end.

    We're able to plug this up, then do traces, get Wireshark, etc. We can do it all on this particular device. It is more efficient to be able to pull up one tool and have that tool able to be the whole solve everything, soup to nuts. It's great to do that instead of having to run around, working with two or three different tools and starting over each time.

    What needs improvement?

    The battery life could be better. There have been a couple of times that I used it and put it down, then I went to pick it up and the battery was dead. So, I need to take the power cord with me in order to continue using it. 

    Initially, one of the devices wasn't reading the information from the scans. So, we would do a scan, and it was giving us back erroneous information. Then, when we tested it on our other unit, that unit was fine. We tested the same problems with what we were troubleshooting. We tried testing it with our second unit and the second unit gave us the information that we needed, where our first unit did not. We kind of went back and forth doing that. Eventually we realized that the first unit on known, good scenarios, which were confirmed by the second unit, could not give us the right information. We knew at that point it was not working and that one of the particular unit was defective.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    About eight months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It seems very stable. We did get two of them. One of them had an issue that we had to get repaired, but the other seems solid. We now have the repaired one back, and it seems solid as well. 

    There is no maintenance for the device that I'm aware of.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have four field support technicians who use the devices. Then, we have a network administrator who guides us through usage of it as well as troubleshoots issues. 

    We do have plans to increase usage. It's used right now as a troubleshooting tool. Therefore, if we have an issue, we pull it out as we go forward for wireless and some other things where we're doing enhancements. We engage the tool as part of that.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Our experience with the technical support was great and knowledgeable. They helped us by sending us a replacement when we realized one of the units was defective. The turnaround time was acceptable. Since I had two units, so I was able to supplement users with my other device. I might have been a bit more crankier if I only had one unit.

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

    We didn't use anything prior to this.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen reduced time for support and troubleshooting issues. So, I see value it the solution. Over eight months, they have been a little pricey. Though, in certain instances, we have had to bring out cable vendors to identify troubles, and those calls are pretty pricey as well. Because we have eliminated the need for external resources to help troubleshoot on multiple occasions, I would say there has been ROI on it.

    Anybody can use it. The higher-end techs can take advantage of it to do more. We can use it for implementations and other things. This has decreased the downtime of our network operations by having us take a shorter amount of time to resolve issues. We are able to test the cable out prior to turning it over. When we are going from a build-out network, we can test every piece of it out, verifying it's all good and everything is correct before we turn it over to production. This eliminates misconfigurations and additional downtime. So, it can eliminate downtime altogether, if utilized properly, for these type of issues.

    The solution has made our networking staff more productive. If we get a lot of issues, then it saves a lot of time. It saves about 75 percent of the time of what we had before, e.g., if there were a hundred hours of troubleshooting time before, then we only have 25 hours now, but this varies based on our business. Sometimes, we don't have any network issues, so we don't use it. When we do use it, it saves about 75 percent of our time.

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

    It's a pricey device, but I see value in it from a business perspective.

    We paid for the additional maintenance on it (for an extra year) to get that extra coverage. This was the first time that we had this solution in-house, and it was pretty pricey. So, we wanted to make sure that anything went wrong, then we could get it repaired, which is pretty standard.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at a couple of other units. We chose NetAlley because its feature did everything that we needed and checked all our boxes.

    What other advice do I have?

    Buy it. It is worth it. I have gotten more insight into what we are doing using the solution along with more information to make better decisions in regards to troubleshooting or wireless.

    We use it anytime that we have network trouble. Now, it's one of the first tools that we pull up if we are having network connectivity issues. The first thing the we do, "Let's get NetAlly and test the cable to the switch." 

    If someone picks up the tool, then forgets to put it back. Usually, we hear about it, they are like, "Hey, where's the NetAlly, I know it is being used?"

    The multi-technology functionality of the solution does a lot. We haven't dove into everything, but I can use it to test cables. I really like the fact that it does everything that it does. The fact that it does WiFi and wired Ethernet analysis in one device has been great.

    We have the solution’s AirMapper Site Survey app in a testing environment. We have been playing with it just to get familiarized with it. We did a wireless survey for a specific area that we were looking to do some additional equipment in. The AirMapper Site Survey app is pretty straightforward. I didn't have to do too much digging. Its ability to gather WiFi site survey data is good and works as advertised.

    Initially, for the simple things, the learning curve is pretty easy and quick. It's not a very big curve. However, for complex items, you want to read up on the solution. They have documentation online that you can watch to the help you. The more complex things take more time unless you're familiar with them, and I wasn't that familiar with the solution and had to do a bit more digging, but the simple things were easy.

    We haven't had the need to make use of the solution’s full line-rate 10 Gig capability.

    I would rate this solution as a 10 out of 10.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Doug Dickerson - PeerSpot reviewer
    Manager at Northwestern
    Real User
    Top 20
    Handheld form factor, intuitive interface that is easy to use, helps us quickly troubleshoot network problems
    Pros and Cons
    • "It clearly depicts the information we're looking for on a 10Gig testing, and we can also verify 100Gig links with it between our routing sites."
    • "The battery life should be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    Network port troubleshooting is probably the best use case that we have. We test the performance and configuration of network ports across two campuses.

    With respect to using the tool to troubleshoot, we've located several network extensions and several network loops. We've used it to confirm performance at 10Gig, 5Gig, and 1Gig, which are the various core configurations that we offer.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Prior to using this product, we were unable to verify a user's claim that their 10Gig service was not working. We didn't have a tool to prove that it was. It has added this capability to our network staff. This gives us the ammunition to tell the user that their port and cable are configured for 10Gig service and if there's a problem then their network card or other equipment needs to be changed or upgraded in order to get the 10Gig performance that they're looking for.

    This tool is what we now use for troubleshooting and solving a network outage. Soon after we obtained it, we were able to zero in on a port that was looping and taking down a portion of our network. This tool was able to identify where that was, and we were able to rectify and restore service much faster than with previous tools.

    This product has definitely reduced our troubleshooting time. It gives us better information on the latest protocols that we're deploying. It has reduced the time needed to both verify and troubleshoot issues.

    What is most valuable?

    We bought this solution for the 10gig testing capability, which is the most valuable feature for us. It clearly depicts the information we're looking for on a 10Gig testing, and we can also verify 100Gig links with it between our routing sites.

    The multi-functionality testing has been helpful for us. For example, we have used the Wi-Fi feature to help us map things out, and it's better than some other tools that we've seen. We're learning more about this tool every time we see a possible use case. We use it for more than just 10Gig testing.

    We've used the AirMapper site survey app to troubleshoot small areas. It helps us to zero in on a gap in wireless coverage that our larger application, AirWave, may have missed. It's very complete in capturing the signals that it receives.

    For heat maps, we use a competing product, AirWave, that simulates data. AirMapper is something that we use for problem-solving with real data, and it gives us a concrete tool to recommend additional coverage or the relocation of existing access points. It has an intuitive, color-coded interface, which makes it easy to use.

    We did not have to take a huge training class in order to understand what it was trying to tell us. We had several one-hour meetings with the sales team and that's all it took for us to understand what we needed to do to pick up the tool and be comfortable with it.

    At the same time, it has deep diagnostics for our experts on staff. Our engineers get more information that is meaningful for them than the technician does.

    Because of the increased capabilities of this testing device, we've begun to replace all of our older testing equipment. Amongst our staff, we are in the middle of this now. Once this is complete, it will mean quicker verifications for our customers of port configurations in a handheld device, as opposed to carrying a laptop around. It gives our technicians the credibility and the tool to check on each port of our network. We also use it in deploying new network components, such as uplinks.

    We have used the pre-programmed Auto Test feature and although I don't always default to it, it's a good starting point. It definitely helps us to find problems quickly and it's the best tool in our arsenal for troubleshooting problem ports.

    What needs improvement?

    It would be helpful if this product interfaced with AirWave.

    The battery life should be improved. The real negative to the product is the horrible battery life.

    We had hoped for it to be able to deliver configurations to our network switches, and I think they're developing something for that. However, it doesn't do that now. We were hoping that we would, as we replace or refresh network components, be able to use this tool to push a config file to the switch. For example, the Aruba switches that we're deploying come with a Bluetooth function where we can push configs from our phones. It would be much more convenient to use this device, rather than using our personal cell phones to do it. I think that the capability is there, but it just hasn't been figured out yet.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using NetAlly EtherScope nXG for approximately three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's fairly stable. Being on an Android platform, it has some of the same problems that other Android devices have.

    It's used several times per day and we hope to have it be the only tool that our technicians use.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It seems like a scalable platform. Their app developers could definitely write new tools for it.

    We have four network field technicians that use these devices.

    How are customer service and support?

    The few times that I've interfaced with technical support, I've found them to be knowledgeable on their product. This includes both its capabilities and its limitations. If we're trying to have it do something that they know it can't do, they'll quickly tell us that it's not possible. We'll need to find another way to do it.

    I would rate the customer support a nine out of ten. It's well supported, especially if you have an annual agreement with them.

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

    We still use an older version of a NetAlly device because the batteries last longer. We pull this out when we know we have a 10Gig issue to troubleshoot, and we're in the middle of deploying more. We're seeing more 10Gig requests, so I think it's only going to increase in its use.

    Another advantage of the newer device is that we like the cell phone-like, Android environment. We saw the possibility for it to grow and expand its capabilities once they moved to that standard platform.

    What about the implementation team?

    Our field supervisor is responsible for the maintenance, making sure that the devices are up to date.

    What was our ROI?

    The product is worth the investment and the upkeep to have such a capable tool in your arsenal.

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

    It's the best 10Gig network tester for the price on the market. We're moving to replace all of our testers with this tool. We're buying a total of six this year and the plan is to buy two units each year.

    We purchase an annual service contract for the devices.

    This is one of the best-valued tools on the market, in this space, and with the most flexibility. Some of the other tools lock you into one or two applications. This one, we saw as having the capability of adding multiple features to it. We'd like to see more apps developed for it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The ease of use beats other industry-standard applications.

    What other advice do I have?

    The features that we get from this product would only be available in a new, custom-created tool. This is a nice standard, out-of-the-box, capable handheld tester.

    My advice for anybody who is considering this product is to do your homework. Make sure that you're getting a tool that gives you what you're looking for.

    The biggest lesson that I have learned from using this tool is that being on the Android platform, there is a small learning curve if you're not familiar with it. That said, it's got a lot of capabilities and a lot of apps that you can add to it. You just need to have the time to be able to figure out what apps are applicable to your job.

    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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