NetAlly EtherScope nXG OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetAlly EtherScope nXG Buyer's Guide

Download the NetAlly EtherScope nXG Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 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."
  • "It is relatively high-priced and it should certainly not get any more expensive. I would like it to be $1,000 less, and I think everyone would say that. And of course, maintenance is also a recurring cost."
  • "Depending on the company, it could be somewhat costly. But just two of these devices can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars."
  • "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."
  • "It's the best 10Gig network tester for the price on the market."
  • "The pricing can be a little bit high for a handheld tool, mostly because, potentially, people do not understand what's in the package. However, NetAlly offers great bundled deals. We got a significantly good deal by ordering a package of these devices that had a whole test kit together. So, while it's very high, the value is certainly there, and the vendor does offer value-added features to offset that cost."
  • "If we were to purchase separate meters to do similar things, it would be double or triple the cost for us to have each toolkit available. Being a small business, putting that much money on a single truck is not cost-effective. Instead, we could put the analyzer, network heat map, and cable tester all in one meter. That is why we went for it."
  • 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
    November 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetAlly EtherScope nXG. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    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 10Leaderboard
    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
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    Buyer's Guide
    NetAlly EtherScope nXG
    November 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetAlly EtherScope nXG. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    CEO at COMCERT BV
    Video Review
    Reseller
    We gain valuable time by not having to use a laptop to do testing, especially with complex connection profiles
    Pros and Cons
    • "Among those features that are important are the AutoTest to create a profile and then see that the network connection is in line with that profile. Also, the LANBERT test to have an idea about the quality of the cable. It is often the case that you have no reports on the cable infrastructure, so this test is also very valuable for us."
    • "The small screen is a little bit of a handicap. It would be nice if we could, for instance, connect a larger screen to the device, but it's very user-friendly. You're only limited by the size of the screen. That's the only negative aspect of doing surveys with this device."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a company that specializes in troubleshooting, but we also have to install systems to allow our customers to monitor their networks. One of the main purposes of this tool is, of course, during troubleshooting missions, but also to verify the network connections for those big appliances. If you install a device to monitor the network, you have to be certain that it is correctly connected to the network and that's when the EtherScope is very valuable for us.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We gain valuable time by not having to use a laptop to do the testing, especially with complex connection profiles. This was already the case when we were still using the predecessor to the EtherScope. I can honestly say that we can't work without the EtherScope. We have multiple EtherScopes because we have a few engineers, and every engineer has to go onsite. If he has to do his job without an EtherScope in his hand, it will take him at least half a day more. It's a very valuable tool. I will never go to a site of a customer to install something or to test something without an EtherScope. The EtherScope is my basic tool.

    It has also provided visibility into networks that you could only get by using many other tools. The Discovery tool is a beautiful example of that. If you had to do that with a PingPlotter or something like an IP scanner tool, it would take you much more time. Discovery takes a matter of minutes to complete, and by visualizing that data on the LinkLive, you have all the information you need.

    As for troubleshooting [time], it can't be defined, as in, "it will take you an hour." You sometimes have simple missions that announce themselves [at first] as being simple missions, and you spent multiple days on them. And sometimes, it looks very complex and the solution is really within hand after 20 seconds. It does reduce troubleshooting time, but it's very hard to pinpoint.

    It has made our networking staff more productive. You spend less time configuring the device and you can set certain configurations aside and recall them. If you have repetitive work, this tool will be very handy.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature for us is the fact it's like a Swiss Army knife. We have one very portable device that gives us all the tools we need so that we don't have to switch between seven or eight different tools.

    Among those features that are important are the

    • AutoTest to create a profile and then see that the network connection is in line with that profile
    • LANBERT test to have an idea about the quality of the cable. It is often the case that you have no reports on the cable infrastructure, so this test is also very valuable for us
    • iPerf
    • performance testing.

    These are already four modules of the tool, and they all come in very handy.

    With AutoTest profiles, we know how our devices need to be connected to the network. It's also very handy, for instance, when you want to install an access point or you want to install a device that needs to be connected to multiple VLANs. You can create an AutoTest profile that allows you to test all those VLANs at once. If you do that with a laptop, you're going to have to reconfigure your laptop all the time. With AutoTest, that's not necessary. And when it's a connectivity issue, the AutoTest feature is very rapid. Of course, there are plenty of network issues, like performance issues, that AutoTest will not help you with. It is just a connectivity test, but it does very well for what it is designed for.

    We also use the AirMapper Site Survey app very often. We basically do all site surveys with EtherScope. We moved away from the previous product we were using and we are now using EtherScope. And if we do wireless troubleshooting, it very likely has to start with a survey. You can't do a survey without AirMapper, which gives me all the possibilities to filter on the data to show certain networks and to focus on an access point. I don't see any limitations for doing a survey by going through the AirMapper.

    The performance test, which is based on a few standard tests, is giving me all the information I need. If you call those the key performance indicators, like latency, jitter, and packet loss, it does that job very well.

    What needs improvement?

    The small screen is a little bit of a handicap. It would be nice if we could, for instance, connect a larger screen to the device, but it's very user-friendly. You're only limited by the size of the screen. That's the only negative aspect of doing surveys with this device.

    Also, in the first releases, I wasn't very happy about the WiFi function, but I have to say that they listened very well because, in the latest release, all my concerns were resolved. 

    It is an Android device, so it is a little bit of dropdown, left-swipe, right-swipe, and that's not always very clear. Sometimes it's not very clear which screen you're looking at. Am I looking at a device configuration? Am I looking at the test configuration? But I think that comes from the Android operating system more than the EtherScope application itself.

    In general, I'm pretty happy with the device. It's a light device, a portable device. It doesn't heat up. Some small devices sometimes heat up and it's not really fun to work with them. I don't see a lot of negative points. It evolved, of course. It has been on the market now for several years and I think it is a very mature product.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using the product since the beginning because we were [using] Fluke Networks. So we have been using the product from the first moment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the device is perfect. I have never had any crashes of the product. I know the engineers working on it, so I know for them it is a very high priority to have stable software, and it is very stable software. I wouldn't say that we are using it daily, but at least a few times a week and I have never seen a crash; not since the start of the product.

    In our company, we have five users of the device. They're all network engineers and diagnosticians. We are a very small company and we are multifunctional, but we're all network engineers. We don't have low-skilled personnel. That's not our business. We're not an integrator. We don't need anyone to put an access point on the wall or install a server in a rack. We are there when it becomes complex.

    I handle maintenance for the devices. There is one person in charge of the maintenance, who is responsible for updating the software and keeping all the maintenance contracts valid. That's my role.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The product is frequently used, not on a daily basis, but certainly on a weekly basis, multiple times by all our people. I don't see this increasing in the near future. It's already a very highly used product.

    How are customer service and support?

    We have contacted their technical support, but it was more for clarification than a technical issue about a product question. Something was mentioned in the user guide but didn't really exist at that time. Meanwhile, now, it exists. That was my only question for their support.

    I would rate their technical support as a nine out of 10.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    We were using Fluke Networks since 2005 and we migrated with Fluke Networks via NETSCOUT to NetAlly. We have never used anything else.

    How was the initial setup?

    We're also a training institution, so we train people to troubleshoot with the EtherScope, and it's often considered as being a short learning curve, but a steep learning curve. Every tool has the same problems. Not all definitions are standardized, so you need to get used to the definitions: What they mean by access point, what they mean by radio, what they mean by port. It is a steep learning curve; you have to invest some time in it. But let's say that after one day or even two days, you can work with the product to its full extent.

    What was our ROI?

    When it comes to return on investment, if you have made a decision to buy a tool like this, you have already made the decision that you can use it to the full extent of what it will cost you. It is not something that you put aside. It's used every single day. And for a tool that is used every single day, automatically, the return on investment is very high. It would be a big problem if this is a kind of tool that would stay somewhere in a closet and would be used once or twice a month or maybe a few times a year. The return on investment, for me, is a function of the frequency at which a tool is used. And it's used very much, so I'm quite happy with it.

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

    Pricing is a very difficult topic because there is already a big difference between the US and Europe. Something that is considered cheap in the US is considered expensive in Europe because our companies are smaller. And that's something that an American company, from time to time, forgets.

    It is relatively high-priced and it should certainly not get any more expensive. I would like it to be $1,000 less, and I think everyone would say that. And of course, maintenance is also a recurring cost. We shouldn't forget that. It's reasonably priced, but I won't say that it is a cheap product. It gives you high value, so it's worth the money, but it should not get way more expensive because then, in our region especially, we will have the problem that our companies are simply not big enough to invest in such a solution.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We didn't evaluate any other options. We have a very profound relationship with all these guys [at NetAlly], so we are not like a typical consumer. I have personal relationships with engineering. I have visited the engineering site multiple times. I know some people [there] for more than 20 years. It would be a very strange choice if we showed up at a customer site with something other than NetAlly. I have complete confidence in their products.

    What other advice do I have?

    The fact that the EtherScope does WiFi and wired Ethernet analysis in one device is less important because it's one or the other. Our main purpose, our main goal, is always wired. It's very rare that we need to combine wired troubleshooting with wireless troubleshooting. That's a whole different game. We are using the tool as a wired analyzer or as a WiFi analyzer, but both are hardly ever during the same project.

    Have we used this as a 10 Gig full line-rate capability? If it is a connectivity test, it's not very often. Of course, when it is a performance test, we use it. But with a connectivity test, most connections on the user plane are still 1 Gig. In a data center you can, of course, have the inability to connect to a 1 Gig port and then it's very handy to have that 10 Gig port available on the device.

    The ease of use depends on which application you're using. The AutoTest can be completely preconfigured at home or in the office and executed by a less skilled professional. That's a valuable feature. If you go to performance testing or other advanced tests, I think you need to be skilled. It's Utopian to think that a less skilled person will be able to do performance testing. But a lot of preparation can be done in the office and that's an advantage. You can split it up: You can have the configuration of the test and then the execution of the test, and then you can also focus your skills. Your skilled people will create the test and your less skilled people will just execute the test.

    My advice would be to give yourself some time to get used to the product because, if you change products, it's always a getting-used-to situation. But once you learn how to benefit from all those different apps, you will never go back to your old applications running on your laptop. I have colleagues who always say, "Okay, you invested this amount of money in a tool and I can download all those tools from the internet for free." The only problem is that you will end up with a laptop with 11 tools. So give yourself the time to explore those new tools and you will see that the EtherScope is a very user-friendly device and the investment will be way worthwhile.

    I would rate the product an eight 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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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    PeerSpot user
    Chase McGee - PeerSpot reviewer
    Cyber Range Engineer 2 at Tech Data Limited
    Video Review
    Reseller
    Reduces troubleshooting from hours to minutes, and increases our security by finding rogue devices
    Pros and Cons
    • "The AirMapper Site Survey app is one of the biggest highlights of this product. When somebody asks me, "Why should I use this device?" it's the first thing I show them, and they usually love it. Its ability to gather WiFi site survey data is absolutely amazing."
    • "The only issue that I have ever had is the battery life. It does drain a little bit quickly... While it's true that by the time I'm finished with my assessment it's usually dead, I have usually finished what I need to do and everything has been pushed to Link-Live. But occasionally, I might need a backup battery if I need to do something for multiple hours."

    What is our primary use case?

    There are a few things that I use it for. In addition to network troubleshooting, I do a lot of network forensics. For example, occasionally I will have a lot of rogue devices on the network. I will also look at, say, a printer that should not be there because it is vulnerable. People could get into it and start viewing the print jobs. I also use it to check Ethernet ports to see if they are currently active. And if they're not, should they be? Are there any VLANs attached to it that it shouldn't be? 

    Pretty much anything security-related: detecting if something is on or off, if something is working, or if there's a device on the network that shouldn't be—that's what I use the device for.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The multi-technology functionality of the solution is crucial. We can use WiFi access points and networking gear but they won't always tell us what's going wrong and that can cause a lot of downtime. When we have users who say they are not getting a WiFi signal, and that seems strange because we thought we had an access point there for full coverage, we can locate problems like that, problems that we would not have located in any other way without this device.

    We had some fiber switches and I had no clue if they were working. I didn't have the time to plug them into a switch and plug it into anything else. The nXG allowed me to test them, and I had over 20 cables. I was able to get them all tested in less than five minutes.

    I have gone from troubleshooting problems in a couple of hours to doing it in minutes. I set up a new vendor technology that required VLANing, and it would have taken me hours to make sure that it was working properly. This device allowed me to switch VLANs and made sure that every single one of them worked, and I was done in less than 10 minutes.

    The tool has also allowed us to locate all the different rogue devices and improve our security posture. There were a lot of printers and other things that weren't supposed to be here, and we were able to remove them. Now our organization is way more secure.

    What is most valuable?

    My favorite features, ones that I have used continuously almost every single day, are the Link-Live Cloud Service and the AirMapper Site Survey. The latter is absolutely essential to almost every business I go to. I move around the building and mark where I've been and then, when I get back to my desk, the information is on the dashboard, showing me exactly where devices are. I can see, "Okay, here are printers that shouldn't be there," and I can relocate them better. Or I can check whether the WiFi signal is strong at a given spot and whether I need another access point.

    The AirMapper Site Survey app is one of the biggest highlights of this product. When somebody asks me, "Why should I use this device?" it's the first thing I show them, and they usually love it. Its ability to gather WiFi site survey data is absolutely amazing. You can collect so many different things including using its spectrum analyzer. 

    You can also use the directional antenna and other features to detect the WiFi signal, its strength and where things are at. If devices are having an issue, you can figure out the cause. Maybe it is behind a wall that is not allowing WiFi signals and you can determine, "Hey, I need another access point here to get my users the internet coverage they need."

    The AirMapper Site Survey Heat Maps were one of the first things that I used the device for. I wanted to see the WiFi signals, where everything was at, and what was the most used. That was able to help me determine that I needed a new access point inside our center for demos. We were getting a lot of drops there and I figured out that the coverage was not good. We had to get a replacement access point.

    Overall, the EtherScope nXG is easy to use for less skilled staff but it has deep diagnostics for experts. I had no experience when I first received this device. I had no training and, in less than a week, I was fully proficient with it. When I really wanted to do a deep dive and figure out everything about it through the Link-Live Cloud Service, I had so much data. It made my life a lot easier.

    What needs improvement?

    The only issue that I have ever had is the battery life. It does drain a little bit quickly. Generally, I don't move too far from my desk, and every part of our building has power. While it's true that by the time I'm finished with my assessment it's usually dead, I have usually finished what I need to do and everything has been pushed to Link-Live. But occasionally, I might need a backup battery if I need to do something for multiple hours.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using NetAlly's EtherScope nXG 300 for about a couple of months and I have a lot of fun with it. It has a lot of great features.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have not had it crash, except for maybe once. For the most part, it has been a solid product and has never really let me down. When I wanted data, it gave me data. It did not give me false positives and it did not send me in the wrong direction.

    The EtherScope 300 is being used every single day by me and my coworker. We are using it to the max. We use it when there is anything new or there are any changes to the network. I haven't dropped it yet, but there have been a few occasions when it has survived extremely cold temperatures. It hasn't failed us and we are most likely never going to stop using it every single day.

    How are customer service and support?

    I wanted an app installed and their technical support got back to me in less than a day, which was amazing. One of the apps that I wanted to install wasn't installing properly. They actually contacted the support for that app to figure out how we could get it onto the device. It was not very long until they responded to me. I have never had technical support that is so reliable and so quick.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    The only other solution I have had access to would be a normal access point that might indicate that there was a rogue device. But it never really told you where it was, nor did it always tell you that it was there. It was just stuck in logs.

    How was the initial setup?

    The learning curve is such that an absolute beginner in networking can use this device. I have given it to partners and said, "Hey, I have a rogue access point on our network, can you locate it?" and with very little instruction, they were able to do so in a matter of minutes. With other devices, they just couldn't do that. The EtherScope nXG 300 is just so easy that they loved it. And I loved it, when starting out.

    What was our ROI?

    The price is very low given the amount of time I've saved. Without the device, it would take me multiple hours to solve an issue. That could cost hundreds of dollars an hour. While the price of the EtherScope can be a lot for a smaller company, for a medium or enterprise company it's absolutely nothing. It's pennies compared to what you're saving when you get this device.

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

    Depending on the company, it could be somewhat costly. But just two of these devices can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars. If you were to need an extra network engineer to solve issues, and let's say you're paying them $120,000 a year, you might not need that engineer anymore. One engineer is able to solve solutions so much easier with just this device. The cost is absolutely worth it.

    There is, I believe, a license for the added support, but it comes by default and it's definitely worth the price. If you ever have issues, which is uncommon, you will solve them in minutes with their support.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Once we received it, I knew this was the device we needed, so we did not evaluate other devices. It did everything we needed in this company. Nothing else was going to compare.

    What other advice do I have?

    The biggest lesson I have learned with the EtherScope 300 is that there are a lot of security holes within your network that you don't know about. A firewall won't be able to solve that for you and endpoint protection won't be able to solve it for you. You need a more active scanning device. You need a device with the ability to locate devices that shouldn't be there. This is the device for you, and your security posture will thank you. The most dangerous attack in the world is an in-person, in-device attack, which would devastate a company. This device helps mitigate that issue.

    The only advice I would have is "Go nuts with this device." I can't figure out how to break it, and I have clicked on every single little thing. Have a blast. Be careful with the scanning features, as some companies don't allow you to scan their network. Other than that, go wild with this device, learn everything about it, and you will not be disappointed.

    I would give it a solid 10 out of 10. The device has not failed me. The security posture for our company has increased tremendously, and problem-solving takes minutes to do. Even though the battery life is a little short, it's a small price to pay for the number of things and the kind of power it gives you.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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

    What is our primary use case?

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

    How has it helped my organization?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What is most valuable?

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

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

    What needs improvement?

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

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

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We purchased EtherScope nXG in Q3 of 2021.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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

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

    How are customer service and support?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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

    What other advice do I have?

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

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

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

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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    Preston Dunn - PeerSpot reviewer
    Owner at Warehouse 5 LLC
    Real User
    Top 10Leaderboard
    It reduces our troubleshooting time onsite
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution’s AirMapper Site Survey app is extremely easy to use. We give it to the technicians and send them out to go do that function. We hand it to the technician who goes onsite, then they take a photo of the overall area of a floor plan and are able to go do that site survey without almost any instruction from any engineer. So, it is very usable for beginner-type techs."
    • "The largest complaint that we get is the battery life on the unit. If you are using it heavily, you get about five hours of usage out of it. In an eight hour day, that is not perfect for us. We would like more battery usage. The battery thing is annoying."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a managed service provider. We provide network as a service to other people. We use this solution to help to diagnose and troubleshoot their networks.

    We use it daily. That is our go-to meter for anything abnormal or weird.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is a game changer for us. It has one meter to validate network changes, troubleshoot connectivity, and detect performance issues. It reduces the amount of things that we have.

    It definitely reduces our time onsite, which is killer for us. We used to spend hours looking around for stuff. We would have to pull out three or four different tools. You would kind of have to guess or judge. With the app, it just kind of brings the information to you. Realistically, we have a pretty good idea what the problem is within 15 to 20 minutes of being onsite. It saves us at least 10 times on the onsite troubleshooting time.

    The solution is easy to use for less-skilled staff, but with deep diagnostics for experts on our staff. This is super cool because we can send out an entry-level tech into the field to gather that survey data. Our engineer could be in the office and pull that up instantly through NetAlly Link-Live. In almost real-time, we can see what that lower-end tech is doing in the office and team up on it. It is super fast for us.

    Our field techs will carry one of these from now on. As we grow and hire more, this will be our meter that we purchase for them.

    What is most valuable?

    The speed testing is very cool. It does 10 gig speed testing. It also does full on network mapping. So, it will go out and discover devices on the network from the tester. Those two would be our go-to things. These are generally the two biggest complaints that we get. Clients will say, "Hey, everything's running super slow." Or, they will say, "We have something, but we just don't know what or where it is at."

    You can actually program a bunch of tests altogether. When you plug it in, it actually runs all those AutoTests. This is a heavy hitter for us. It can find network problems easily. 

    For a handheld tool, it is very functional. We are big fans.

    The solution’s AirMapper Site Survey app is extremely easy to use. We give it to the technicians and send them out to go do that function. We hand it to the technician who goes onsite, then they take a photo of the overall area of a floor plan and are able to go do that site survey without almost any instruction from any engineer. So, it is very usable for beginner-type techs.

    The AirMapper Site Survey app is very accurate in its ability to gather WiFi site survey data. We have some more expensive site survey equipment, and this solution has been in line with that equipment, i.e., matching the more expensive stuff.

    The AirMapper Site Survey app works well to create heat maps in the vendor’s Link-Live Cloud Service. One of our favorite things is to hand that visualization to the client so they can see exactly what we know.

    The AirMapper Site Survey app works well when validating changes or troubleshooting problems.

    What needs improvement?

    The largest complaint that we get is the battery life on the unit. If you are using it heavily, you get about five hours of usage out of it. In an eight hour day, that is not perfect for us. We would like more battery usage. The battery thing is annoying.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been working with NetAlly for about two years. We purchased EtherScope about a year ago.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have had zero issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have two of them. We have a total of two field techs and one engineer, and the solution will bounce between them, depending on what the problem is that day. We are a small company.

    How are customer service and support?

    We send it out for Ally Care. NetAlly offers the maintenance for anything that is not just wiping the screen down every now and then.

    We have never had to use the tech support.

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

    Previously, we had a bunch of little things that did similar work. We had something that did WiFi heat maps. We could pull out a laptop to do a network scan and have a WiFi scanner analyzer on our phone. Before, we never really had anything that was multipurpose on one tool.

    Fluke Networks makes most of our network meters that we own. We have been with them for years, and they have recently changed. Some of their stuff is not available anymore. So, we were just out there looking for something similar. We actually purchased some of NetAlly's competitive equipment that is on the lower-end stuff about two years ago. We have kind of started to fall in love with the NetAlly brand. We have grown into EtherScope, which was just the next step in our evolution.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was very quick to set up. If we are using it on the field, it turns on in about a minute. It is good to go as soon as that happens.

    It took us two months to even want to go grab it. We didn't really go through any of the training processes that they offered. We just bought it because it checked a bunch of boxes. Therefore, for about two months, it just sat in its bag. We might have pulled it out two or three times, until we were like, "Huh, that will work for this."

    What was our ROI?

    This solution has provided visibility into our network that we could only get by using many other tools. It allows us to service more clients. I don't know if we have seen cost savings. We have just been able to increase our income. It makes us more money because we can do more jobs in a day. 

    We saw value from the product within the first six months.

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

    If we were to purchase separate meters to do similar things, it would be double or triple the cost for us to have each toolkit available. Being a small business, putting that much money on a single truck is not cost-effective. Instead, we could put the analyzer, network heat map, and cable tester all in one meter. That is why we went for it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at Fluke Networks and a couple other brands. The reason that we went for NetAlly was the price point.

    What other advice do I have?

    I didn't like its multi-use technology in the beginning. I was like, "Oh, this is way too much." However, we keep finding features that solve things for us. We have really enjoyed it.

    The learning curve is minimal. It is an Android-based app. Anybody who is familiar with Android can click on the apps and run through what is there.

    It definitely pairs well with its little brother. There is the EtherScope nXG, then there is its little brother for 10 gig testing. I definitely recommend that.

    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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