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The company where I work is building special twisted pair network cables. Those cables need to be tested for function and performance (100/1000 Base-T). Since we only produce small batches of those cables we do not own a hardware cable tester. The testing is currently done by using two PCs and transferring some data to measure the speed.

We want to simplify this setup to only use one PC but could not prevent the OS (Windows) from using the localhost loopback for data transfer and therefore are unable to test the cable itself.

Is there some software (Linux or Windows based) that is able to test a network cable by using one PC that is having two network cards installed?

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You build cables - specialized ones, at that - and don't have a hardware tester? Go buy one, you will not get more accurate than that. – DanBig Oct 7 '10 at 14:37
I bet you can hire one for a damnsight less than buying one. Especially if you don't need it for a long period of time. Like buying a Fusion-splicer.. Most people only need them for short jobs, so renting one is cheaper. – Tom O'Connor Oct 7 '10 at 16:26
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Testing cables by transfering files is not ideal. You'll need to take the budget hit and get a hardware tester. Not only will it do a better job, you'll be able to test things like line noise, and get a pass/fail indication for ISO complient cabling.

If you want to do software testing, you would need to look into the offerings by Marvell (Yukon chipset) or 3Com. Both companies offer a Virtual Cable Tester that will do basic tests. Just keep in mind that these tools were designed for system administrators trying to diagnose installed networks, not auditing cables in a production scenario.

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