Port Testing and Loopback Cables

I work at a service center, and am looking for a quick and easy way to test ethernet, usb, and modem ports. My management won't shell out the cash to buy the expensive proffessional sets, and I sure as heck won't. Is there any way to modify a cable to be a loopback cable, and are there any scripts (XP or Linux) that can test an ethernet, modem, or USB port for funtionality?
I would appreciate specific directions, a link to an online tutorial, or even a book recommendation.
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More about port testing loopback cables
  1. Hmm..To test functionality? Usually just plug in a ethernet line..Or a modem cable. Or a USB device. Or do you want to test some of the more "inner" functions?

    What you can do is get another computer with an ethernet port, a crossover cable, note the IPs, and ping each other. But that is just one thing.

    This will loopback on a USB port, pretty cheap:

    PassMark USB 2.0 Loopback plugs

    This will loopback on a ethernet port, pretty cheap:

    Ethernet Loopback Jack

    Can't tell if this is a RJ-11 or RJ-45, but it mentios ISDN:

    Modem Loop Back


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