Networking Tools | CompTIA A+ 220-1001 | 2.8

In this video you will learn about appropriate networking tools such as: cable cutters, cable strippers, crimpers, punchdown tools, multimeters, tone generators & probes, cable testers, loopback plugs, and WiFi analyzers.

When it comes to building a physical network, you will need some key networking tools that will help you with running, terminating, and testing cable.  Let’s discuss some of the networking tools that will help you successfully build a network.

Cable Cutters

One tool you should have is a good, sharp cutting tool.  Cable cutters come in all shapes, sizes, and capabilities for a variety of jobs, whether the jobs involve copper, aluminum, or coaxial cable. The manufacturers of cable cutters have their own unique niche, special design, strength, & versatility. No two pairs of cable cutters are alike. When you need to make a clean cut on the end of the network cable; scissors will not do.

Network Cable Cutters

Cable Stripper

Cable and wire strippers are devices used to remove sections of insulation (plastic jacket) from underlying wires and prepare cables for installation. Stripping is an important process that allows for the conductor to be terminated or spliced.

Cable Stripper

Crimper

A crimping tool is a device used to conjoin two pieces of metal by deforming one or both of them to hold each other. The result of the the tool’s work is called a crimp. A crimper attaches a connector to the end of raw twisted pair (TP) or coaxial cable. If you are working with TP, you need an RJ-45 crimping tool (which often also works with RJ-11 telephone cable).  After untwisting the wire pairs and aligning them according to the appropriate standard (typically T568B), insert them into an RJ-45 connector and push the cable and connector assembly into the crimper.  Line up the crimper jaw with the recessed area of the connector and squeeze.

Crimping Tool

Punchdown Tool

A punchdown tool is a small hand tool used by network technicians to insert wire into insulation-displacement connectors, patch panels, or punch down blocks. A punchdown tool punches individual wires down into the 110 IDC clips of an RJ-45 jack and the patch panel. The “punching down” of the wires is the actual termination. The patch cables connect the various ports of the patch panel to a switch and the RJ-45 jacks to the computers.

Punchdown Tool

Multimeter

A multimeter (multitester) is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions in one unit. A typical multimeter can measure voltage, current, and resistance. Analog multimeters use a microammeter with a moving pointer to display readings. Digital multimeters (the most common in use today) have a numeric display, and may also show a graphical bar representing the measured value. Multimeters can be used for testing both coaxial and TP cabling as well as AC & DC voltages to test computer power supplies and AC adapters. All multimeters have standard red and black test leads.  When used for voltage tests, the red lead is attached to the power source to be measured, and the black lead is attached to ground.

Multimeter

Tone Generator and Probe

A tone generator and probe kit is an excellent tool for finding individual phone lines and it consists of two components:

  • Tone Device:  Connects to one end of the network cable and sends a tone along the length of the cable.
  • Probing Device:  Also known as an inductive amplifier, can pick up the tone anywhere along the cable length and at the termination point.
Tone Generator & Probe

Cable Tester

A cable tester is an electronic device used to verify the electrical connections in a signal cable or other wired assembly. Basic cable testers are continuity testers that verify the existence of a conductive path between ends of the cable, and verify the correct wiring of connectors on the cable. More advanced cable testers can measure the signal transmission properties of the cable such as its resistance, signal attenuation, noise and interference. Cable testers include a LAN testing unit that can be plugged into a port on the patch panel & a terminator that can be plugged into the other end of the cable into the corresponding RJ-45 jack. This tool tests each wire in the cable and makes sure everything is wired properly.

Cable Tester

Loopback Plug

A loopback plug (also known as a wrap plug) is a connector used for diagnosing transmission problems. It plugs into an Ethernet (RJ-45) or serial port and crosses over the transmit line to the receive line so that outgoing signals can be redirected back into the computer for testing to verify whether the network adapter & TCP/IP are functioning properly.

Loopback Plug

WiFi Analyzer

A WiFi analyzer allows for you to analyze both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz wireless networks in the area.  Wireless networks use specific channels within the wireless spectrum. An overcrowded wireless channel results in decreased bandwidth and/or connectivity issues for your network. You can use a WiFi analyzer to see what channels are in use and to identify the best channel to set on your router. A WiFi analyzer can be a standalone device, a program for a desktop computer, or an app on a smartphone.

WiFi Analyzer