Improved Surge Protection Devices For Telecom Systems

Improved Surge Protection Devices For Telecom Systems

Telecommunications systems rely upon a relatively simple concept for connection that is unbelievably complex to achieve. A user holds a device and interacts with it in order to send or receive data. That device sends or receives the signal from a cell tower that is within range, connecting them to a network allowing other users to send or receive data in the same way. The strength of the signal from the tower is what dictates the clarity of the calls or the speed with which data transfers. If you are out of range of a tower, you receive no signal and are not connected to the network. Major cell networks work very hard to create complete coverage areas in places where customers are, ultimately positioning themselves as superior to their competition by their coverage areas and the  speed of the network itself to transfer data. While this seems straight forward, the process is actually problematic in a way that is difficult to avoid, those pitfalls coming in the form of nature. The cell tower itself is a magnet for lightning strikes because it is tall and made of materials that will attract lightning. The cell tower also holds the equipment that is necessary for users to connect their device to the network. A lighting strike to a cellular tower has the potential to render the system offline just with a strikes to that particular tower, and it also poses problems by creating millions of dollars’ worth of damage that need  to be repaired before the tower can be returned to functionality. This threat exists for all cell towers worldwide.

The main components of the cell tower are the structure itself, the RRH (remote radio heads), the antennas, BBU (base station unit) and the connecting cables. The pieces of equipment in these areas perform the service of enabling a signal to be received at the top of a cell tower, and transferred to receivers at the base. The components are connected through cables and power lines, and because of this connection issues can sometimes arise. A lightning strike to the top of a cell tower is likely to damage the RRH, resulting in a certain amount of damage. Because a lightning strike involves a large amount of electrical energy, the resulting power surge travels along these cables and connections and through the structure, ultimately damaging the equipment that is at the bottom of the tower, or potentially not even in the tower at all. The surging electricity can move from connected component to component, overwhelming and damaging each of these pieces of equipment until the surge either weakens over distance or is diverted. This is where surge protection devices come into play, and are critical to the ongoing functionality of our modern cell networks.

Surge protection devices for cell towers prevent the surge from traveling past the point of their install, so the integration of industrial level surge protection systems into cell towers along lines and at crucial junction points will effectively limit the amount of damage seen within a typical strike. By proactively limiting the damage that can occur, towers can be restored to functionality faster and the monetary losses associated with lightning strikes can be minimized. The result is networks that perform better with more reliability, as well as the extension of equipment life span. While the surge protection equipment is not technically part of the cell system itself, it is an integral and critical part of the customer experience and the price that customers pay. Both your bill and the number of bars you have is based on the effectiveness of the surge protection devices in the towers surrounding you.

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