Realities of Cable Network Testing

As an owner of a structured cable installation company, have you ever faced this dilemma?

Being forced to decide whether to buy a vehicle to expand your business or a certifier? Or, how about this one – you can’t hire an additional tech because you also need a certifier?

A Fluke certifier can list for nearly $25,000; sticker shock is an understatement.

If that wasn’t enough, you may have experienced the joys of customer support. You know, where you’re asked for your credit card number before your problem is even dealt with. While Fluke has considerable market share, there’s more to a vendor than sales volume and being able to impose their will on contractors through brute force.

In addition to the quality of the tester, you also need to consider:

  • Lifecycle cost
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Initial purchase

Just as important as quality and cost is how invested a vendor is in the long-term success of your business. Choosing the wrong one can quickly drive up costs.

There are options with clear differentiation and lower cost.

Does anything improve on Fluke’s offering?

Let’s look at cost, since it’s no doubt on your mind. Softing will cost you less than Fluke. That’s not the whole story though because the cost can be measured in a multitude of ways, as noted above.

Overall solution cost is a critical one. By that we mean is the test time per drop more important or the issue being fixed? Put another way, what’s the cost of retesting the entire job because of incorrect tester settings?

Picture this: accidental user error due to difficult-to-understand tester instructions. That big yellow tester led to your tech setting up the device for the wrong cable. Only after running all the tests – on all the cables – and returning to the office did they realize their mistake. Looks like your tech is heading back to the job site, and you’re paying for it.

Avoid all of that with the Softing WireXpert 500, where the software is the solution.

All the data collected on-site is compared to the right specification… in real time. Results are produced in seconds.

Moreover, how about being able to see the same information on a live remote versus a blank box at the other end of the test? In other words, the clarity of graphical screen at both ends of the test not blind remotes? You can even initiate a test at either location and see the same results – eliminating up to 50% of your tech’s time walking back and forth. They may not get their steps in for the day, but that’s a small price to pay.

Questions to ask yourself

We’ll get to the questions in a second. First, it’s worth pointing out that customers (you) can often be the receivers of bait and switch tactics.

For example, being told that one feature is important only to hide another item that may fall short of expectations. Or, driving the customer to focus on something that may not be that important, so they miss what truly is.

Don’t be complacent about where you choose to purchase from just because that’s what you’ve always done. Instead, look at the companies that provide the products you genuinely need and ask:

  • Are they investing R&D in the market with state-of-the-art products?
  • Do their products solve my needs to generate revenue?
  • Do the products I purchased allow my company to grow its services and offerings?
  • Do their products have a common-sense approach to maximizing efficiency in my business?
  • Do the features they tout actually help or is it just a little tweak in the product to continue to milk their cash cow — me?

Also consider business practices:

  • Are there specifications that spell out testing must be performed by a specific vendor’s product? Is that even legal, or something that could happen to you as a contractor on a bid?
  • Customers care about their cabling being installed and terminated correctly, so what’s the point of a standard that defines what the need for a level 5 certifier is?

The list of questions you may ask to “interview” your potential equipment provider is lengthy. And it should be. At the end of the day, take a hard look at what’s best for your business in terms of maximizing profit, the efficiency of your field techs and avoiding unforeseen costs during the time you own your equipment.

Softing ticks a lot of those boxes, and their certifiers have also been used, tested and approved by over 30 cable manufacturers.

Call or email us to set up a time to chat about your specific needs.