Grounding and Lightning protection

01

Introduction

Lightning or electro-magnetic discharge is a natural phenomena that occurs during storms and it is represented by a very intense current flow between two differently charged points. Lightning occurs both inside the clouds, but also between the clouds and the ground. Usually, as they wiggle during a storm, the water or ice particles in the clouds get negatively charged in the lower layers and the surface of the Earth gets positively charged, leading to a powerful current flow from the clouds down to Earth that we see as a lightning bolt and which aims to restore the balance between the two differently charged points.

Lightning is a fact and it occurs more often than we might think of, as about 100 strikes hit the surface of the Earth every second. Having current intensities between 5 kA to 200 kA and more importantly, voltages of up to 1 billion Volts, the destructive power of a lightning bolt is huge. The wireless communication systems that are mostly comprised of outdoor installed equipment are direct candidates for lightning strikes and a direct hit would damage the equipment if no protection measures are taken. Even if a direct lightning does not take place, the induced voltages during storms and nearby strikes can be very high and impact the equipment as well.

The provision of a proper grounding circuit is a best practice for protecting the electrical components of the equipment installed outdoor. Grounding generally refers to implementing a low-resistance conduction circuit between the installed equipment and the ground's surface (so it is basically a connection to the ground) and it involves 2 aspects:

  • grounding the cases of the equipment
  • grounding of the electrical circuits 

Please note that grounding will ensure a proper performance of the wireless communication system and makes it safe to be used. 

This document aims to describe in detail how to perform the grounding of the Infinet Wireless equipment, the available specialized lightning protection units and will also provide general advice for a proper installation of the equipment in order to offer resilience against lighting strikes.


CAUTION

Electro-magnetic discharge (lightning) damage is not covered under warranty. The recommendations in this document, when followed correctly, give the user the best protection from the harmful effects of EMD. However 100% protection is neither implied nor possible.

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