As an instructor working closely with telecommunications designers and installers, we frequently have students repeatedly bringing up similar concerns and then experiencing revelations each class. There is always a decisive split between the students with the glass being half full verses the half empty point of views. When we break out the twisted pair cable, continuity testers, ranging from $100 to $400 per pair scanner, we explain some units simply indicate which conductor/s are not connected properly, while the more expensive versions may also provide length measurements to a bad connection and that’s when the discussion begins
Then we just have to pose a few questions to get a group consensus and most of them quickly come to the same conclusions.
- How many times a day do they feel would be an average that an installer may have to find a fault in new cabling being installed? Four or five on the conservative side?
- How long on average does it take for them to visually have to check both ends of the cable and often have to guess which end is bad, re-terminate the suspected connection, and still have the same problem that is now obviously on the opposite end of the cable?
- How many times does this have to happen to have made up the difference in their labor cost, versus justifying a more comprehensive tester or any tool that legitimately saves time?
In conclusion, it is simple math to have the most economical and reliable tools available to the installers and to remember that “economical” rarely refers to the cost of the tool.