Cellular Lightning Protectors Save Equipment And Customers
The need to decrease expenditures and streamline operations within competitive industries is one of the primary goals and keys to success. As an example, the cellular industry faces significant issues with regards to equipment damage during the normal course of operations that the business calls for, with that equipment damage also potentially resulting in lost customers. Equipment damage itself is not the only potential loss in these situations, because the lost revenues from customers becoming frustrated by a lack of ability to connect around their homes and businesses can lead to them switching companies, resulting in revenue losses as well. This situation is very difficult to manage through the technology that exists today, simply because the cellular towers which carry the infrastructure equipment are completely exposed and vulnerable to weather events, and in particular to lightning strikes, by their physical makeup. They are generally the tallest structure in an area and are not shielded or obstructed in any way so they provide a clear path for signal transmission and receipt. The towers are constructed from materials that must be able to withstand wind and rain in inclement weather, ultimately meaning that they are constructed of materials that can conduct electricity. This simple physical makeup makes them a prime target for lightning strikes or on or near the site, ultimately putting the equipment on and inside that tower at a significant risk.
On the cell tower there are two distinct equipment groups in a distributed base station architecture. These groups are the “remote radio heads” and the “base band units” and are positioned near the top and bottom of the tower respectively. The equipment near the top is responsible for receiving and transmitting signals to user devices, and the equipment near the bottom is responsible for processing that signal and transmitting it to the network (the backhaul) to which the tower is connected. Lightning strikes to the top of the towers are a concern, ultimately producing a significant amount of physical damage at the strike point in the form of explosions and fires. While this is a serious problem for revenues, an even bigger issue is all the equipment on the tower site is directly connected to other equipment in the group, running the length of the tower from top to the bottom. Ancillary damage is produced when the electrical surge that is produced as a result of a lightning strike makes its way along connectivity routes from the top to the bottom, destroying equipment far away from the strike point as well. Through this process, damage costs are easily doubled as a result of a single strike. A prevention method is the only effective method of salvaging equipment and making the return to functionality as quick as possible. Through the installation of mechanisms called “lightning protectors” the equipment downstream from the strike point can be salvaged on a regular basis. The lightning strike happens and the current flows along the cables and wires connecting equipment. The surge protection devices then arrest the flow and send it to ground, preventing it from moving forward, ultimately saving downstream equipment and revenue.