Although this device is quite self-explanatory and easy to use, we’ll explain the basic setup of the device. On the front of the device, are four tri-color LEDs. These LEDs are used to indicate Current, Polarity, and Ringing/AC Voltage. Below this array of LEDs, is the switch for changing between 568 A/B and USOC (Uniform Service Order Code). When the device is plugged into an RJ-11 jack, the position of the switch doesn’t matter, but when it’s plugged into an RJ-45 jack, the USOC setting should be used if the RJ-45 connection is part of a standard phone system or else 568 A/B mode if the connection is for a LAN. Protruding from the top of the Line-Bug 4 are two cables, one that contains a male RJ-11 end while the other is RJ-45. These are what need to be connected to the telephone/LAN jack. It would be nice to see the Line-Bug 4 also incorporate some female connections, so testing could occur also with LAN and telephone cables, but unfortunately that isn’t the case and only the Line-Bug 4 supports the actual jack. On the rear of the device, are the instructions (identical to what is found on the cardboard backing) and the color code for the LEDs.
Although there is no way to formally benchmark the unit, we went around to several LAN and telephone terminals in our building to test the device. We went around to some active RJ-11/RJ-45 jacks that we knew for a fact were in working order, and then we proceeded going to some that we knew had some problems in the past. During this entire process, it was quite simple and easy. We simply inserted the proper connection into the RJ-11 or RJ-45 jack, changed the corresponding 568 A/B or USOC setting and then waited for the LED results to be displayed. This process was quite easy and only took a few seconds per connection. When everything had wrapped up we found the device to be able to diagnose all of the different LAN/telephone jacks correctly. We encountered absolutely no problems with the Triplett Line-Bug 4 along the way of testing.
At approximately $8.95 USD from our friends at Cable Organizer, there is no reason not to get your hands on one of these small units for testing of RJ-11/RJ-45 jacks. Although not as much information is displayed with the Line-Bug that a professional datacom tester would be able to detect, it’s a good quick and easy device for giving a quick diagnose of any RJ-11/RJ-45 line. Even if you own one a datacom tester, the Line-Bug 4 is a great device for initially testing the line in the event there is a dangerous voltage traveling across the wires that potentially damage your expensive tester. Overall, no computer enthusiast or electrician should go without this simple yet useful tool.
· Cheap (~ $8.95 USD)
· Easy to use
· RJ-11/RJ-45 jack support
· Self powered
· Diagnosed all of our connections properly
· No female connection support for testing cables
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Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10