13 Feb Fluke Networks LinkRunner AT vs T3 Net Prowler
When you’re looking for the right hand-held device to equip your network technician with, you don’t necessarily want the cheapest model, nor do you want the most expensive, assuming that it has all the greatest capabilities and functionality. That being said, functionality is of course one of the strong criteria by which you’d want to choose the device best suited for the kind of tasks your network personnel most frequently have to tackle.
Where features are relatively equal between two handsets, some ‘tie-breakers’ might come into play. For instance, the Net Prowler from T3 Innovation is entirely made in the USA, with quality built right in rather than added on. Since Net Prowler also has updateable firmware, it can readily be enhanced in the future with new features as they are developed and released, and when combined with its existing feature sets, that puts it a solid cut above the competition. However, the best way to see clear value is by comparison, so what follows is a birds-eye view look at the Net Prowler NP700 and the Linkrunner AT (LRAT-1000).
Net Prowler vs. Linkrunner AT
Both devices of course can be used to test network cables, and for the identification and ongoing monitoring of LAN issues. Both can also detect PoE, PoE+, PoE mode and can handle the load test for voltage drop.
Network mapping is lacking on the Linkrunner LRAT-1000, as is port discovery, although it is equipped for VLAN discovery. VLAN discovery is also part of the Net Prowler’s CDP/LLDP detection so there is no feature loss in this area. Net Prowler can manage all three of these features, and can support up to 20 network and coax ID-only mapping remotes on the network, which is also missing from Linkrunner. In terms of convenience, Linkrunner does boast a re-chargeable lithium-ion battery for users who don’t mind re-charging, while Net Prowler is powered by disposable AA batteries.
Technicians also generally appreciate some of the simple options available with Net Prowler such as the kickstand, which allows the device to be positioned in an upright manner for hands-free viewing. Its clip-on option makes for handy carrying from place to place around the building, or out in the field. While these are not deal-breaker features, they are not available on the Linkrunner device.
One other area where Net Prowler has an edge is in the saving and exporting of test results – while both devices have the capability to handle these two functions, Net Prowler can store upwards of five times more than Linkrunner, at 256 to 50. In practice, this may not be a huge deal, but at the very least it will mean that Linkrunner data must be exported much more frequently than Net Prowler.
T3’s Net Prowler is the clear winner in a head-to-head comparison with Linkrunner AT, with advantages in feature sets, data storage and export, available options, network mapping, and in port discovery capability. Since its architecture also allows for easy future enhancements, it can be upgraded to become even more functional in the future without having to purchase an entirely new unit, so it also gets kudos for affordability. You will also see a cost difference between the Net Prowler and the higher cost of the Fluke Networks Linkrunner AT (LRAT-1000).