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Cheap Cable Testing

When a transmission problem arises in a Wi-Fi system, the first place to look is at the cables and connectors. Connectors generally take the most physical stress in a system, and also can be the first piece to break down while operating in poor conditions. The middle of the cable or the inside of an antenna is less likely to sustain damage if stressed when compared to the cable ends and connectors. This is where simple cable testing can be of great value to troubleshoot a system.To check for continuity and for shorts, use the ohm-meter function on a multimeter.Test the entire lengthof the cable through each connector.
1. Check for continuity from center pin to center pin. This should be a short or zero ohms.
2. Check from connector body to connector body. This should be a short or zero ohms.
3. Check from center pin to connector body. This should be open or infinite ohms.
Often when you’re testing a cable, it’s already installed on-site, which limits access to the cable
ends. To get around this, disconnect both ends of the cable and short the center pin to the connector body on one end only. Then measure resistance of the pin to the body on the other end. The resistance should still be zero ohms (or very close). For the unlimited budget, products like a time domain reflectometer (TDR), spectrum analyzer, RF Power meter, and network analyzer can be used to test entire transmission systems, including the cable. These usually cost several thousand dollars to buy and hundreds to rent. If the connector is presumed bad, replacing it is often much less costly than extensive testing. And very often, the only way to fix a bad connector is to replace it and start over.