Cell Site Surge Protection
Surge protection for cell sites is one of the most critical aspects of the network protection equipment that keeps our cell phones functioning. Even though these systems are not technically part of the technological process that connects our calls or allows us to access the internet from our phones, they are integral to keeping other equipment in the overall network functional. Surge protection systems are installed because there is a significant threat of damage from lightning surges to cell sites in the field. Each year cellular network providers invest more and more into improving the network to keep customers happy. Customers demand access to the fastest data transfer speeds so that their devices can perform the latest technological functions, from streaming movies to uploading videos in 5K. All of these things were possible a few years ago, but with the network speeds, it was nearly impossible to accomplish them from a handheld device. Now that 5G has been rolled out to many major metro areas, we find that handsets have become far more powerful. They are more effevtive because they can now access data being moved across the network at a speed that makes the entire process palatable, which is what customers have now come to expect. Without the networks having upgraded equipment within existing installations and rolling out new installations simultaneously, customers would have become frustrated and possibly moved to a different carrier that could provide the speeds they wanted. For cell providers to remain competitive, they are forced to invest in new network infrastructure equipment often positioned in remote sites and in harm’s way.
Lightning strikes can be a significant source of damage to cellular installations. Because of their unobstructed and tall positioning, cell towers are a favorite target for lightning strikes. A strike that hits the top of the tower or installation will impact the functionality of antennas, transmitters, and remote radio heads. While this damage is difficult to minimize, what can be avoided is the power surge damage that results from the lightning strike. After the strike, a significant power surge moves through the installation, traveling nearly instantaneously along any surface that allows conductivity. Because there are many power cables and wires connecting the equipment from the top to the bottom, the surge easily flows to all equipment along that conductivity path. It is easy to damage this sensitive electronic equipment as it can only function with a specific level of electricity flowing into it. The power surge is far outside this range, so the equipment at the bottom is also heavily damaged in the case of a surge, complicating the restoration process and making it more expensive. Cell network providers have found that installing surge protection devices along these pathways can eliminate the damage to the equipment at the bottom of the installations, thus conserving the budget that would be spent on repairs. Making restoration easier can happen faster, keeping the facilities functional for more extended time frames. In addition, customers are kept happy through good connectivity and fair service prices.