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Is there any software that will certify cable using only two NIC's and software to run the test?

Would a NIC be able to test a cable based on the physical internals that it's made of?

I'm basically trying to find the cheapest option that I can that will certify cables (preferably cat6) and all the hardware solutions seem god awful expensive.

I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this question (or even if StackExchange has a network that would be. If it's not the right place let me know and I'll delete the question).

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The cheapest option may be to see if you can hire a decent cable qualifier. Talk to local cablers, they may know where to go for one. –  John Gardeniers Aug 25 '12 at 4:21
    
@JohnGardeniers I was actually hoping to be able to do this myself for a small fee. –  Jared Aug 25 '12 at 8:10
    
you may have misunderstood. A cable qualifier is a piece of test equipment. Local cablers (the people who install cables) may be able to tell you where you can hire the device. –  John Gardeniers Aug 25 '12 at 12:09
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

No. Certification of cables requires specialized equipment - which is (as you discovered) quite expensive. Accurately measuring crosstalk at 500MHz+ isn't something that NIC hardware is designed to do. If it were, it would also be quite expensive. The real rub here is that a given NIC / switch port might negotiate even 10GE over cables that don't meet spec. I'd suggest keeping a close eye on ebay for older Flukes (or similar) - they can be a lot cheaper than buying new.

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Awesome (sarcasm), I was hoping for a different answer, but appreciate the info! I've been looking on ebay, but have still been shocked by the prices. –  Jared Aug 25 '12 at 1:08
    
This is why paying people to certify cabling is pricey. Look at this way - think of all the money you could make selling such services once you've bought the tester! You could go right to step 3 (Profit!). –  rnxrx Aug 25 '12 at 19:31
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