How do you protect yourself against lightning?
Some material is very old and may be incorrect today
© July 2004 Bruce Garlock
Posted by Bruce Garlock
The summer months in the northeast usually bring hot, humid weather, and the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. Recently, one of our buildings was hit by lightning, and we lost some equipment as a result. Slashdot had a recent post on this subject How to Protect a Network Against Lightning? and some of the answers were helpful, but I am wondering what pcunix.com users have to say about the subject. For example, one post suggested grounding is the key:
I sell and install radio equipment that is installed on towers that range in height from 40 to 1400 feet. The taller ones are guarenteed to get direct hits from lightning ~every~ thunderstorm. The key to preventing damage is grounding. It doesn't matter what kind of lightning protection you have if your site grounding is not up to par. In a commercial building situation, the power entrance to the building must have adequate grounding. Isolation transformers are a great help as well. Lightning can also enter buildings via phone and network cables so make sure the telco demarc is properly grounded.
I also found a small slideshow that showed some "fried" equipment from the result of a lightning strike: http://www.austinwaldorf.org /tools/expose.html (link dead, sorry). Although our hit was not that bad, mostly NICS, and some serial interface cards for our dot matrix printers, after seeing these pictures I am a bit more worried for the next time this happens. I really would like to know how to properly ground the telco demarc, since this could easily be an entry way into the network, since we have multiple T-1's connecting our buildings, and for our Internet access.
- Bruce Garlock
See Protecting from Lightning by BigDumbDinosaur.
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