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Lighting Arrestors or Surge Suppressors

As wireless becomes more common outside, warehouses and basically non-wired environments, I seem to see a disturbing pattern. I’m learning that LAN folks might not have a traditional ‘radio’ background which leaves them exposed to the most dangerous and oldest issue involving outdoor installs.

In the cable, radio and satellite industry its common to be fully aware of ‘grounding’ fundamentals and associated risks. The concept is quite simple: you need to protect your equipment against electrical surges or lighting damage.

In the past, many wireless radios used external antennas and the lighting arrestor was typically connected between the radio and antenna cabling. I have even seen many manufactures include the arrestor with the AP to ensure it isn’t forgotten.

Now with POE and integrated antenna’s there doesn’t seem to be an obvious place to put a suppressor/arrestor.

There are CAT5, N-male/female and various other flavors of suppressors/arrestors, so make sure you know what you need, or what your manufacturer recommends.

I have seen installations where the arrestor was installed, connected to the Cat5 cabling, but no ground cabling was connected to the arrestor. The technician honestly believed that the mounting screws for the arrestor was ‘ground enough’.

The funniest story I can remember is when I gave a technician a lightning arrestor and asked him to, “don’t forget to toss this in with the AP install”. A week later I went by to document the cabinet and there it was, “STILL IN THE BOX!!”. When I asked him why he didn’t connect the arrestor, he responded that I didn’t ask him to ‘connect it’, just to ‘toss it in’. Really???… I wish I could make this stuff up, but sadly some people provide me with this type of material in abundance.

So before you walk away from that outdoor Access Point/radio install, please make sure you INSTALL a lighting arrestor or surge suppressor, clear enough?

I have included a photo of my Lighting Arrestor in case you haven’t seen one.

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