Fluke CableIQ™ Qualification Tester vs. LinkIQ™ Cable+Network Tester

June 13, 2023 / General, Standard and Certification, Upgrading and troubleshooting, Industrial Networks

In 2007, Fluke Networks created the cable qualification market with the introduction of the CableIQ Qualification Tester. Certification is essential for building owners who need to ensure that their contractors have installed a cabling system that meets TIA and ISO standards and will support both today’s networks and tomorrow’s — but network cable qualification testers were priced out of reach for network maintenance teams. CableIQ tested cabling against network standards, such as 1000BASE-T, and provided documentation that showed what the cable was capable of.

After 15 years, it’s no longer possible for us to manufacture the CableIQ — but we have a better solution: the LinkIQ Cable + Network Tester. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing or replacing a CableIQ, here’s what you should know about the LinkIQ.


Mark Mullins of Fluke Networks demonstrates the differences between the CableIQ and the LinkIQ

7 things to know about switching to the LinkIQ

1. No coaxial testing

CableIQ offered testing for 75 Ω coaxial cable, which the LinkIQ does not. For those who need to test coax, our MicroScanner™2 can test 50, 75, and 93 Ω coaxial cables (at less than half the price of the CableIQ).

2. Modern user interface

The CableIQ’s 2.5-inch monochrome backlit display was nice for a tester in its price range (back before smartphones), but most users today are much happier with the high-resolution color display of the LinkIQ. One example of the value of this display is the “cable speedometer” (see image below), which makes it easy to see what the cable is capable of. And the touchscreen keyboard of the LinkIQ is faster than the four arrows on the CableIQ when it’s time to enter text or cable identifiers.

The LinkIQ’s “cable speedometer” shows clearly what a cable is capable of.

3. Supports today’s network standards

When the CableIQ was launched, 1 Gig Ethernet was the fastest thing on copper. Today the world is moving much faster, so the LinkIQ adds 2.5, 5, and 10 Gig cable qualifications.

4. Switch port testing

Both testers can tell you if you’re plugged into an Ethernet port, but the LinkIQ takes it to today’s speeds, recognizing 2.5, 5, and 10 Gig-capable switch ports. And the LinkIQ adds valuable information about the switch itself: name, IP address, port number, and VLAN. This information helps solve problems where the user is plugged into the wrong switch or port, or the switch is improperly configured.

5. Network Connectivity Testing

LinkIQ can be set up to ping an IPv4 or v6 device, then it displays the results of 4 pings, including response time. This can determine if the network can provide access to key servers or services. The LinkIQ’s address can be set manually or via Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). This not only helps debug DHCP problems but allows the user to see the gateway and Directory Name Services (DNS) servers in use.

6. Power over Ethernet

When CableIQ hit the market, Power over Ethernet (PoE) had just started to show up in networks. CableIQ can sense some installations of PoE, mostly as a warning that it should be disconnected to prevent damaging the tester. LinkIQ is built for today’s PoE world, certified by the Ethernet Alliance for compatibility with all current IEEE PoE standards: 802.3af, at, and bt. Not only is it safe to connect, but it will also display the power levels offered by the switch (up to Class 8 or 72 watts), which pairs are powered, and whether the source is single- or dual-signature. To confirm that power is available, the LinkIQ places a load on the switch and ensures that adequate voltage is present. If you’re installing PoE devices, such as access points or cameras, these features can save hours of trial-and-error troubleshooting.

7. LinkWare™ PC Reporting

CableIQ offered its own documenting and reporting package, the CableIQ Reporter. LinkIQ is compatible with LinkWare PC, our industry-leading reporting package that supports our certification testers — even those that were obsoleted before the launch of CableIQ! Tens of thousands of electricians and technicians use LinkWare Live regularly; the single application for storing and reporting all your work makes life much easier.

In addition to its key advantages, LinkIQ also offers several smaller conveniences: a rechargeable battery that’s compatible with standard USB-C chargers, a one-button control that automates the testing process, user support in 12 languages, and a strap to hang it up while you’re working.

Check out LinkIQ’s differences for yourself.

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