A+ Exam Objective 2.8 Given a scenario, use networking tools.
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Welcome to CertBlaster ExamNotes! In this session, we will look at the tools necessary to keep your network running optimally. These include diagnostic and performance tools. Have fun and use your knowledge for optimization!
CAT 5 and CAT 6 cable use the same crimping tool. Be sure to match the cable ends against each other and the wiring standards. Your typical crimper will be able to do all RJ cable terminations.
Most cable types require some to all of the protective coatings to be removed before they can be terminated. Coaxial cable is a good example of this since the outer sheath needs to be cut away, exposing the mesh shielding, before the protection for the core is removed. Each cut must be at a predetermined depth and sequence.
Multimeters can be analog or digital. Analog meters are designed to test continuity, positive AC, and negative voltages as well as resistance. The display typically consists of a needle over a gradient background, with the needle resting on the value currently being measured. The delicate internal windings can be damaged on an analog Multimeter from extreme under-voltage or over-voltage. Digital Multimeters address this problem by auto-ranging themselves into the volt/amp range that would provide relevant output. Otherwise, digital Multimeters would display an error message.
Tone generator & probe
Using a tone generator and probe, cables can be traced and followed end-to-end. One device is useless without the other. During operation, one wire has a tone applied to it at a frequency readable by the probe. If an audible signal is produced at the opposite end of the test cable, you have the right cable.
An indispensable tool for network diagnostics, the cable tester can diagnose wiring problems from broken and cut cables to loose wires and crossed pairs. Less expensive than a network Multimeter, this tester is often all you need to fix a connectivity issue. Place the Master on one end of the suspect cable and the Remote on the other end. The light display will show each wire sequentially. Any sequence problems can be usually be attributed to a crossover cable in the line. Find the problem and replace with T-568A or T-568B depending on the installation.
A loopback plug can be used to test any port on a PC, router, or switch. Currently, the loopback plug is most commonly used to test the operation of a physical network interface card port. The device typically uses software to send and receive data, thereby validating or invalidating the port.
WiFi Analyzers are used to discover WiFi problems, but more importantly, are used to help optimize the performance of the WiFi network. They range from the simplest “How many bars are you getting?” test to multicolor spectrum analysis of the wireless environment. This tool is a useful diagnostic!
WiFi Analyzers are available for free from your wireless provider’s site and will run on your smartphone. Keep in mind that wireless signals are measured in dBm and are always expressed as a negative value. For example, a -25 dBm signal is stronger than a -90 dBm signal. Use this device to avoid channel overlap.
Congrats, you have completed A+ Main Domain 2.0!
That’s all for sub-objective 2.8 which also completes the entirety of Main Domain 2.0 – “Networking”! We’ll see you in Main Domain 3.0!