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Protection of cellular sites is paramount for maintaining carrier profitability. Safety comes in several ways, including protecting equipment against different types of damage when it is placed into service in a public environment. A basic form of protection is shrouding, essentially adding protective covering that creates a barrier between the equipment and the elements. Another is adding industrial surge protection, which is necessary to protect against the circuit-level component damage caused by power surges. Both of these forms of damage have consequences that must be minimized in order to maintain profits. Shrouding protects equipment close to public spaces that can not be exposed directly to the elements. Surge protection puts a barrier between vulnerable equipment and the power surges that can impact them, causing either instant damage or degradation over time. Both are necessary.
Shrouds or cabinets cover the necessary equipment used in the cellular network that supports the network backhaul, directing and routing signals to where they need to go. A large amount of equipment is used in the process, with only the actual radios, antennas, and supporting connectivity equipment positioned at the top of the installation. This equipment is exposed to the elements and is vulnerable to lightning strikes. Other equipment at site is housed at the bottom of the structure and supports the distribution of signals to the network. All components must be housed in enclosures to prevent damage from the elements and support connectivity. A direct connection via power cables from the equipment at the top to the bottom allows electricity to move through the system from the inside, power the entire system, and keep the site up. When a power surge results from a lightning strike near the structure, however, it can overwhelm and damage the connected equipment. Because the power surge enters the exposed equipment and moves to the unexposed equipment, the enclosures will not protect from power damage. Therefore, installing the proper Type 1 and Type 2 surge protection equipment at critical places in the cell site is necessary to thwart a power surge from moving from component to component. This way, the lightning strike might impact the equipment at the tower top, rendering it damaged, but the resulting lightning surge would be managed and diverted by the installed surge protection, keeping damage from the other equipment. A power surge moving along the cables at such a location would not be able to move past the point of installed surge protection, keeping that surge from reaching the other equipment in the installation. When the right type of industrial surge protection is installed in the right areas of the site, less damage is allowed to occur when the inevitable lightning strike happens. The addition of cell site surge protection also enables faster restoration times should damage occur. By reducing the damage from predictable events like lightning strikes, the network providers can conserve the operating budget spent on maintenance over time. Eliminating these expenses adds to profitability and, at the same time, keeps existing customers happy due to better service. Surge protection is the silent protector of your cell signal!