How to Protect Your Equipment During Lightning Season

August 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM


No matter how lucky you are, the thought of lightning striking your expensive communications equipment can be a scary thought. Depending on your location, the time of year and your proximity to other buildings, the chances of a lightning strike can be higher or lower, but any lightning strike can be debilitating for sensitive electronic equipment. Both direct and indirect strikes can cause extensive damage that includes loss of data, downtime and the cost of replacement.


Electromagnetic fields and earth-voltage spikes caused by lightning can also wreak havoc on electronic power and signal circuits. This can damage the Ethernet, coaxial and telephone lines, or anything connected to the circuits. Even entire campuses can experience long-range voltage spikes that can ruin all electronics connected by the above-ground and below-ground cabling systems that run throughout the campus.


There’s no single cure-all method, but lightning protectors are an inexpensive way to help protect equipment in the event of a lightning strike. Here are some of the best solutions to give your equipment a fighting chance:



Coaxial Protectors – These lightning protectors use gas-filled tubes to discharge electrical spikes before they can cause damage. They are used in both wired and wireless networks to protect radios, communications equipment and anything else attached to coaxial cable, which becomes a target for lightning. They feature popular connector types including N, TNC, RP-BNC and F.


Low-PIM Coaxial Protectors – Theses are ideal for use with Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) because of their low-PIM performance of -150dBc. They feature bi-directional protection and there are no gas tubes to replace.


Cat5/5e/6 and PoE Protectors – These protectors ground-out and discharge spikes that can permanently blackout security cameras, switches routers and other critical equipment. They are ideal for 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet networks. Some models even feature integral PoE injectors that can deliver remote power to access points, access servers, outdoor routers and other Ethernet IP enabled devices.


Telephone/DSL/T1 Protectors – They protectors can prevent your POTS or other telephone system from expensive downtime and are perfect for indoor or outdoor installations. These protectors are available in multiple styles including screw terminal 

and RJ11 options.


RS232/422/485 Protectors – These are ideal for protecting RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 lines. They can also save sensors, control lines and AISG lines from lightning’s damaging effects.


To see all the products L-com offers to protect your equipment from lightning, click here.


Properly Grounding Outdoor Lightning Protectors

December 1, 2016 at 8:00 AM


They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but one strike is all it takes to destroy your expensive electrical communications equipment. A single bolt of lightning can carry as much as 100 million volts of electricity, there’s no way to know exactly where it will strike and indirect strikes can be just as destructive as direct strikes. Damage from lightning can be extensive and costly, from downtime to loss of important data and compromised security systems.


Lightning protectors are an effective and inexpensive way to make sure that your valuable equipment doesn’t get damaged. L-com offers an extensive line of coaxial and data line lightning surge protectors for every application. But in order for them to fully protect your equipment it is crucial that the lightning protector be properly grounded.  Here are 5 tips to make sure you don’t get burned by Mother Nature.


1.  Never ground to a building's electrical ground


2.  Always use at least 8-10 gauge copper wire from the arrestor to the ground stake


3.  If possible, connect to an existing telephone company interface. These are usually on the outside of the building and have a heavy ground stake and wire near them


4.  If you are using an indoor device, such as a PoE interface with lightning protection, you must still run copper ground wire to the outside of the facility


5.  Use a grounding rod. With proper installation, grounding rods complete a safe path for lightning to discharge. They become the final connector of a grounding electrode, meeting or exceeding most local electric codes with resistance of 25 Ohms or less


3 Tips for Installing Security and Surveillance Cameras

August 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM




Do you need to put your business or network under tight security?


Installing security and surveillance cameras has become more important than ever before. Malicious persons are getting even smarter, causing a greater need for multiple layers of security (we talked about this in a recent post- How Secure is Your Data Center).


Some individuals are installing cameras in their homes, others in their businesses, or some even to monitor empty lots.


While a trusted and professional installer is always your best bet, here are three significant things to consider if you’ll be installing security cameras on your own. 




1.    1. Get the Right Camera


You have a lot of options today for the camera you select. Commercial grade security cameras are generally broken up into CCTV cameras that use a coaxial video cable to connect to the recording device, and IP cameras, which use either wired or wireless Ethernet signals.


Regardless of which method you use, be aware that you will also need power for the camera. So even if it is “wireless” camera, a power cable may still be needed at the installation site.


Lucky for you, there also exists All-in-One Kit DVR Surveillance Systems that come with everything you will need to get your system up and running right away. 


Here’s a short video to guide you through the setup and installation of an all-in-one kit. Note that if you purchase a kit with an existing hard drive, you can just skip over that step. 




1.    2. Consider using Power-over-Ethernet


Because cameras are often installed in out-of-the-way locations, plugging them into a power outlet is often a problem. If there is no outlet nearby, you would need either a long (and sometimes obtrusive) power cable, or a licensed electrician would need to put one in for you.


A good solution to this problem is to provide the power via an Ethernet cable using Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). PoE devices vary, but in general you will need an injector at the power source. The Ethernet cable plugs into the PoE injector, and the power travels along the cable to the camera. 


Many cameras today are PoE ready and can accept power from any 802.3af standard device with no need for a separate power cable. However, if they do need a separate power cable, you will generally need to install a PoE midspan or "tap" near the camera to separate the power out of the Ethernet cable so it can be used.


Click here for a free short PoE overview, OR here for an in-depth PoE Whitepaper




2.    3. Lightning Protection is a Must


Any electronic device that is on the edge of a structure, either indoor or outdoor (and especially if there is conductive cabling attached to it), is at risk for lightning damage. Even an indirect lightning strike can destroy electrical equipment costing thousands of dollars. Because of this, we highly recommend a
simple and replaceable lightning protector on each end of every cable that links to a camera. Even if a direct strike destroys a camera, lightning protectors will save you from damage to anything that is connected to the camera (even PoE Ethernet lines)


L-com stocks a wide variety of lightning protectors for nearly every cabling application. Your options include coaxial video protectors (used in CCTV lines), category-rated PoE protectors (used in IP and PoE lines), and PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera lightning protectors that include individual protection circuits for the analog video line, the RS485 control line, and the AC/DC power lines.



Surge Protectors: Your Best Investment In Protecting Your Wireless Network

November 29, 2013 at 8:39 AM


A single bolt of lightning carrying up to 100 million volts of electricity has the power to rip through roofs, explode brick walls and destroy electronic networking/communications equipment! Don't be fooled into a false sense of security if you never receive direct strikes. Indirect lightning strikes on telephone and power lines can be just as catastrophic! Protect your valuable communications equipment with L-com's HyperLink® brand coaxial surge protectors.


Lightning Strike

A common question our customers often ask is, "Where is the best place to put coax surge protectors in my wireless network?" The examples below outline some recommended areas to use coax surge protectors to protect your valuable communications equipment.


  • - At the base of your wireless antennas (for integral connector models)
  • - At the connector end of the antenna pigtail (for pigtail antennas)
  • - At the ingress of a NEMA Enclosure
  • - Between any cable end connected to active equipment such as access points and RF amplifiers

*Always remember to ground the protector to EARTH ground via 8 or 10 gauge copper wire*


L-com's HyperLink® coaxial lightning arrestor and surge protector products are available in two types,Quarter Wave and Gas Discharge models.


Quarter Wave coaxial surge protectors are designed to pass the desired frequency while suppressing lightning surges, much like a signal filter. Lightning strike electrical surges which operate at low frequencies are diverted through the protector's short-circuit to the ground.


Gas Discharge coaxial protectors are a type of lightning arrestor which employs a replaceable gas discharge tube, which is a component containing a small amount of gas. The gas tube dumps extremely high amounts of surge energy directly to the ground of the protector. HyperLink® coaxial lightning arrestors are available for 0-3 GHz operation or 0-6 GHz operation.


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