As our industry continues to march toward the interconnectivity of various IP, analog and other types of devices, there is a universal need for testing devices that will ensure connectivity, power consumption and other metrics that will determine whether a device will function and how it will work.
In the past, technicians would have to juggle various individual testing devices to check out the cabling, termination and programming of field devices. This can be quite difficult when standing on a ladder or working in a cramped position.
One company that has been producing the highest quality testers for our industry is IDEAL Networks. In the past I have used their Fibermaster optical loss test set and the VDV II Pro copper cabling and IP network tester with great results. Usage of these testers can be seen on my YouTube channel at Slayton Solutions.
I recently received the new Securitest IP tester from IDEAL to check it out. While this tester is used to its fullest in IP camera installations, there are many features that can help technicians with general IP network issues.
What first impressed me is that the kit comes with virtually every type of testing cables and connectors.
The testing features of this unit cover the range of most any IP or analog camera installation. PoE power and DHCP are available, so cameras can be mounted and quickly connected to the tester. From there technicians can set the focus and picture, take still shots of what the camera is seeing and transfer them to an SD card for future storage. This is critical to reducing call-backs on camera installations. Many times, the end-user who has purchased a camera system from you may call and want the viewed image to be moved this way or that, creating a truck roll that may well not be billable. With the Securitest IP the images can be shown to the customer during the final turn-on of the system and they can then approve the views or ask them to be changed.
While the Securitest IP incorporates many of the features found in other IP camera testers such as camera discovery, ONVIF compliance, PoE and DC power outputs, IDEAL’s tester does much more than that. Camera configuration can be performed via ONVIF, Web page access or apps installed onto the Securitest device. This device includes a Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR), PoE current consumption, cable and connector testing using a separate included probe, port flashing to indicate on a switch which cable is which, as well as some interesting testing features such as the “tracert” IP test which locates the addresses of routers from the tester to addresses on the Internet.
One of the basic trouble spots when programming IP cameras is the setting of separate software ports. While most camera vendors have their products defaulted to port 80, we all know that this port number should be changed. The issue is that there are 65,535 port numbers and if you forget what port you set in a camera, you are going to have to default the device and reprogram it. As a test, I used the Securitest Port Scan aimed at an IP camera programmed to port 5540. It took less than 40 seconds for the Securitest to find the open port on the device. This feature alone may save many installers from setting up and climbing that ladder once more to reprogram a device.
What makes this a very powerful tester is that it is just as useful while troubleshooting as during initial installation. The Securitest IP can quickly find any and all IP cameras on a single Class C IP network, and the tester can either be connected via Cat5e/6 jumper or Wi-Fi if available.
I believe this tester can save you substantial time and money. At a price point south of $900, it will pay for itself in the first few installations.
Check with your distributor or visit www.idealnetworks.net/us/en/index.aspx for more information.
Dave Engebretson is president of Slayton Solutions Ltd. and he continues to pound the road providing fiber optic, FTTx, cabling and IP networking training for law enforcement and our industry. Go to www.njpwworld.com and witness the best professional wrestling matches ever performed. Just check out Kenny Omega. See more of Dave’s stuff at www.slaytonsolutionsltd.com.