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Lightning Damage to Ethernet RJ45

Written by Erica St. John on July 24, 2010 – 11:49

Lately, with storms coming though, I have had to go on a lot of trouble tickets from possible lightning damage to some Wifi equipment.

This is what some of the equpiment looks like

Airspan 900

Airspan 900

As you can see, there is a cable that goes up to the right of the radio. This cable is Ethernet. It has an RJ45 end on it that is housed in an Ethernet to serial converter which is attached to the radio.

This cable is used to link the radio to a Power Injector which then goes to a next device – a computer, a router, or the like. When everything works right, with this setup you can get a wireless internet connection that sends and receives transmissions to a tower that hosts more wireless equipment.

As with all electronic equipment, these may be susceptible to lightning and storm damage. Hail hitting the attached antenna can even knock it out of alignment and therefore drop the signal coming to the radio for internet access.

The cable run itself is susceptable too. It can carry a lightning hit through it. (In theory, so could the cable attached to a tv satellite or many other devices can carry a lightning hit . This is how many computers get damaged from storms – when lighting hits a cable or near it, and carries an electrical surge that can knock electronics – tvs, phones, computers – all out.)

Serial to Ethernet

Serial to Ethernet

Now, back to this Ethernet cable with an RJ45 on the end. As I mentioned, it is housed in a Ethernet to serial converter – the black housing shown where the arrow points to in the picture

The radio was hit by lightning. I am still trying to find the actual path on the radio outside. But, while changing out the radio, I took the cable run out and replaced it. When I unattached the RJ45 from the converter, I got to see a taste of what lightning had done to the cable nad RJ45 end itself.

RJ45

RJ45

RJ45 Side

RJ45 Side

And, the final outcome was that the lightning traveled through the cable, to a wireless router. The Power of Ethernet Brick too a hit, was knocked out and also wireless router took some of the damage too making it.. work and then not work, work and then not work.

These are some of the things I see out in the field with my job. I have seen other things too that were amazingly done by storm damage. Imagine an old tree being hit by lightning, falling down near a house, and the sound of the repercussion from the lightning hit knocked out 5 lower level windows on the house near. (No one was hurt, but it was a shock when the homeowners came back and saw it.)

As I go along, I hope to take more photos in amazement of what is out there!


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