Due to an increased reliance on network-connected technologies in the enterprise, IT departments now require a cable test tool that fills the gap between network qualification and certification categories without breaking the bank. This new category of test tool is being referred to as Qualification+. AEM's new Network Service Assistant (NSA) is the first Qualification+ test tool on the market that provides enterprise IT departments with features that approach what professional cabling contractor certification tools can measure at a much lower price-point. Let's learn more about AEM's NSA tool from a high-level and why its Certi-Lite feature puts the "+" in Qualification+.


    Network Service Assistant Advantages
  • Certi-Lite – Single-ended ANSI/TIA 1152-A complaint RF testing involving the measurement of complex cable parameters such as Return Loss, NEXT, Insertion Loss, ACRF, length, delay, shield discontinuity, and graphical TDR analysis of faults.
  • Autotest feature – Autotest is the easiest and most reliable way to ensure that cabling links will support the desired network rate with a clear Pass/Fail indication and allows saving of test results.
  • PoE Load Testing – All PoE standards, which include 802.3 af/at/bt and UPOE are supported for reporting of PSE configuration and full load testing with reporting of Current/Wattage/Voltage. In addition, it also allows for sustained loading of the PoE source over longer periods to identify hard to find intermittent power drops, through external loads.
  • Multi-gig Link Speed Testing – TestPro is capable of validating a link to ensure Ethernet can be supported at 1/2/5/5/10GBASE-T. It can perform SNR measurements while under traffic and PoE load, ensuring confidence that a cabling link will support the desired network rate.
  • Network Connectivity Testing – TestPro can connect to a live Ethernet network through the 10/100/1000 network interface connector, or via WiFi (Edimax EW-7822ULC Wi-Fi USB adapter required). Once connected, NSA will auto-discover connected devices on the network. You can Ping any other device to verify connectivity with traceroute and measure latency.
  • Wi-Fi Testing – NSA can auto-discover all 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi SSIDs and their associated RSSI values (received power level). This is helpful in discovering Wi-Fi "dead zones" and checking Wi-Fi connectivity with optional Edimax EW-7822ULC Wi-Fi USB Adapter.
  • Industry's Best Warranty – All NSA's come with a full 2-year warranty from date of purchase – proof of our confidence in the quality and reliability of our instruments.

Certi-Lite provides single-ended ANSI/TIA-1152-A complaint channel testing of CAT3 – CAT6A with a clear Pass/Fail indication. For cable contractors, a regular dual ended certification test is necessary for new installations for cable manufacturer's warranty purpose. For network owners and those that do not have a requirement for dual ended certification, the NSA's Certi-Lite capability is a perfect tool for qualifying existing cabling for its suitability for new applications, particularly smart building where PoE will be heavily used, but at a significantly lower price point.

Certi-Lite use cases:

  • Reassessing the performance of existing cabling against standards requirements such as CAT6A
  • Troubleshooting network connectivity and link speed issues
  • Documenting cable plant performance
  • Auditing certification testing jobs
  • Moves, Adds, Changes

Test results can be saved to internal memory for later upload to the included TestDataPro results management software. Test Results can also be uploaded to the free TestDataPro Cloud service for offload from tester via wired or wireless network connection.

  • Pass/Fail Criteria

    • Length
    • Delay
    • Delay Skew
    • Loop Resistance
    • Insertion Loss
    • Return Loss
    • NEXT
    • PSNEXT
    • ACRF
    • PSACRF
  • Informational

    • Network Compliance
    • Resistance Unbalance P2P
    • TCL
    • ACRN
    • PSACRN
    • Impedance
    • RL Locator TDR
    • NEXT Locator TDR
    • Shield Locator TDR
  • Useful for moves/adds/changes/troubleshooting, NSA will connect to a live network either through the built-in 10/100/1000 or when through the AD-NSA adapter that comes with the NSA and connecting to the Multi-gig network interface. Users can also connect via wireless using an optional Edimax WiFi USB adapter (EW-7822ULC). Once NSA is connected, the auto-discovery feature displays connected devices on the network. Ping any other device on the local network or the internet to determine connectivity and latency.
  • Display list of IP & MAC addresses for connected devices. Useful for identify devices, including unknown devices attached to network.
  • Select any IP address to view that device details, MAC address, and more.
  • View Local Area Network details such as Gateway, Subnet Mask, DHCP Server.
  • Use Ping to verify point-to-point connectivity or out to the Internet by selecting pre-defined or custom website URLs and see latency details.
  • Traceroute is useful in determining if internet connection latency is within the local network or beyond.
  • Network Autotest includes the network discovery, connected devices, network map, ping and LAN speed.
  • WiFi SSID/RSSI discovery, Signal Strength Test with options for Auto Connect, WiFi Handoff enable/disable with editable RSSI threshold for handoff provides the ability to find weak spots in coverage and confirm handoff behavior throughout the coverage area.

Note: The Edimax WiFi USB adapter EW-7822ULC is regional specific and should be purchased from Amazon or preferred retailer.

  • Wireless connectivity testing may be performed using the optional Edimax WiFi USB adapter (EW-7822ULC ).
  • NSA's auto-discovery will display all detected SSIDs and their associated RSSI (received power level) and channel. This is useful in determining if the WiFi network to which a customer is trying to connect has sufficient signal to a specific location.
  • Determine WiFi "dead zones" by checking the RSSI in various locations.
  • Connect to any SSID using the appropriate credentials for that network
  • Auto Connect and WiFi handoff with user-definable signal threshold for handoff can help in troubleshooting coverage issues while using the Signal Strength tool.
  • All Network Test tools used in wired network tests also function in WiFi.
  • Use Ping to verify point-to-point connectivity or out to the Internet by selecting pre-defined or custom website URLs and see latency details. Traceroute is useful in determining if internet connection latency is within the local network or beyond.

Note: The Edimax WiFi USB adapter EW-7822ULC is regional specific and should be purchased from Amazon or preferred retailer.

Studies have shown that a large percentage of all cabling faults are related to miswiring. NSA graphically reports the end-to-end wiremap from within the Certi-Lite test screen at the moment the remote terminator is detected without having to run Autotest. After getting instant view of the wiring fault, the technician can find the location of the fault simply by clicking the wiremap picture. And after resolving the issue, NSA's Live Wiremap reporting helps to verify the fix instantly. In addition to a rapid CAT6A Single-ended Autotest, this is another important productivity improvement feature of NSA.

TestDataPro is a PC based test reports management software that comes standard with NSA. TestDataPro works in tandem with NSA, which allows users to define projects and categorize test results into logical groupings once uploaded into the database. The database provides the ability to collaborate by viewing in-depth test details on-line as well as provide .pdf based printed reports. Users can combine multiple Autotests into a single report, such as Certi-Lite CAT6A, Multi-Gig and PoE.

Test results are uploaded into TestDataPro through the following means: 1.TestDataPro Cloud
2.USB portable drive file transfer from NSA to PC
3.Direct USB cable connection from NSA to PC

TestDataPro Cloud is a free service that allows users to transfer test results from NSA to the cloud while on a job site. Users can connect to the network with NSA through a wired or wireless network connection (such as connection to your cell phone hot spot while on a job site). This allows users to offload test results throughout the project, giving managers visibility into progress being made and facilitates a quick and easy transfer of result off NSA. Once results are in TestDataPro Cloud, users can go into detail for each test on-line or get individually printed test reports.

If more in-depth capability is needed, such as creating a single .pdf report for multiple test results, creating a logical hierarchical view of test results, and more, test result can be transferred to the more full featured TestDataPro. However, most users will find everything the need in TestDataPro Cloud.

An ideal network cable pair has 100 ohm impedance along the entire length. In reality, the impedance varies from 100 ohm in different amounts along the cabling link, the deviation being more significant at the positions of connectors. RL locator plot provides a view of the cable along its length. The locations of peaks in the RL Locator are representative of spots with poor impedance control. When a cable fails autotest, the RL locator helps determine the location along the cabling link that is most likely to have caused failure. This is a great aid for trouble-shooting. With accurate location information of the problem spot, a technician can focus on fixing the issue on that part of the cable.

NEXT failures can be difficult to diagnose. They can be due to faulty cable, faulty connectors, or poor installation practices. The NEXT locator plot provides a view of NEXT in the cable along its length. When a cable fails autotest, the NEXT locator helps determine the location along the cabling link that is most likely to have caused failure. Typically you will the highest NEXT at a connection point, but sometimes if you see NEXT is high all along the cable, that is the culprit. With NEXT Locator, NEXT failures soon turn into NEXT passes!

Unique to AEM field testers, is the ability to get a TDR trace of shield continuity. For shielded cable applications, being able to find the distance to where the shield continuity has been compromised is critical. Combination of impulse TDR and step TDR traces make it easy to find even small problems with the shield.

TestPro provides the most comprehensive test functionality for verifying PoE deployments. All PoE standards to include 802.3at/af/bt are supported up to 90W, as well as 60W UpOE. The PoE source is tested with actual load connection. NSA offers the unique ability to test internal and external load test over a sustained time period to monitor issues with the Ethernet/PoE link over time. NSA will also check that the cable installation meets the required power to turn on a PoE devices.

NSA validates a cabling link for high performance Ethernet standards including 1 / 2.5 / 5 / 10GBASE-T. End-to-end Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) measurement provides a quick and objective assessment of link performance under network load condition. The Autotest feature of the TestPro is the easiest way to ensure that a cabling link will the desired network rate.

Wireless access points (APs) are one of today's most broadly deployed IoT devices and 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless APs require 2.5 and 5 GigE backbone speeds to run at maximum performance. Additionally, these devices can be PoE powered and by the nature of the link speed, require all four pair to be terminated. NSA can ensure the cabling infrastructure passes category cabling in accordance with ANSI/TIA XYZ standard, verify link speed in accordance with IEEE 8023.bz specific to 1 / 2.5 / 5 / 10GigE, and verify loaded PoE++ in accordance with IEEE 802.3bt to 90W including DC resistance measurements.

AEM is a member of the NBASE-T Alliance, to learn more visit https://ethernetalliance.org/