Connect802 recommends the use of power and surge protection to avoid costly downtime and repairs.


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Protecting Your Wireless Network Investment

Connect802 has selected state-of-the-art protection against the power spikes, surges and transient voltages that would otherwise damage your equipment.

Buy managed UPS equipment, lightning arrestors and surge protection from Connect802 to Take Advantage of our Wi-Fi Design and Consulting Experience

"Clean" Power

The power company generates electricity which is stepped up to as much as 230,000 volts (230 kV) and transmitted through a complex power grid to ultimately reach your radio, controller, switch, router and server equipment. Your equipment (in the United States) needs an undistorted 60 Hertz (cycles-per-second) sine wave with a strength of between 110 and 120 volts. Distortions in the electrical signal and deviations in the voltage are common and they cause electronic equipment to malfunction ("hang") or to ultimately fail.

The Subtle Nature of Power Line Problems

If an unprotected piece of electronic equipment failed during a violent lightning storm it would probably seem obvious that the power line was involved in the problem. What is not obvious is how voltage fluctuations and transient disruptions in the 60 Hertz sine wave gradually degrade electronic components. Over time, unprotected electronic equipment can fail due to the cumulative effect of months or years of sub-optimal power quality.


The Power Transmission and Distribution Grid
 

Powerline Voltage is Not Constant

Undervoltage: In your home, when you turn on the vacuum cleaner or when the air conditioner starts you'll often notice a momentary flicker in the lights. When the power grid is heavily loaded in the summer it's common to hear about "brownouts" occurring. AC line voltage can fall to below 100 volts (a drop of over 10%) in many cases. Low voltage can cause equipment to malfunction or "hang" requiring it to be rebooted and restarted.

Overvoltage: The power company tries to offset the voltage drops that occur during times of heavy usage by raising the voltage at the sub-station, targeting the desired consumer voltage based on the load. When, during a peak usage time, the actual end-user load momentarily decreases the actual voltage can increase by more than 10% to over 135 volts! Sustained over even a few seconds this can be damaging to electronic equipment.

Common Mode Voltage: During a severe storm wind damage can cause tree branches (or entire trees) to bring power lines down. Lightning can disrupt the grid and secondary pole transformers can explode in a wild display of sparks and electrical arching. All of this causes severe electrical stress and potential damage to unprotected electronic equipment. A lightning strike within 5 miles of a site can change the electrical potential of the ground to a degree that causes a voltage surge through the ground wire connections that are otherwise meant to protect electronic equipment. When the electrical ground potential between two places is sufficiently different to cause a voltage surge back through equipment's grounding connections it's referred to as a "common mode voltage" problem. Common mode voltage surges are extremely damaging to electronic equipment.

Transients ("Spikes"): When an electric motor powers on it can introduce a momentary (perhaps less than 1 ms) spike on the otherwise regular 60 Hertz sine wave. These instantaneous transient events, while impacting perhaps only a single cycle of the AC current, can exceed 600 volts (and have been measured above 5000 volts!). Examples of motors that introduce transients include heating and air conditioning fans, vacuum cleaners and floor polishers, appliances (washers, dryers, dishwashers, commercial ice makers, vending machines), floor fans and electric space heaters with fans. Big, powerful motors make big powerful spikes. Small motors introduce smaller levels of sine wave corruption. Unprotected electronic equipment is gradually assaulted by power line transients resulting in ultimate failure that is often not recognized as being the result of power line issues.

Noise: The 60 Hertz sine wave is intended to be "clean". If viewed on an oscilloscope the undulating sine wave form should be smooth. There are a number of factors that cause the sine wave to be distorted. Small motors (table fans, electric shavers, ventilation fans) and older toggle-style light switches introduce small disruptions in the AC cycle. Fluorescent lights introduce conducted and radiated emissions. A plasma that makes the light in a Fluorescent bulb emits RF energy at roughly 10 MHz. While this isn't a factor relative to 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless reception it is a source of electrical disruption in the electrical wires nearby. The 60 Hertz sine wave is now being impacted by a 10 MHz electromagnetic field. When a Fluorescent fixture uses a "ballast" to deliver high voltage to Fluorescent tubes the ballast itself can introduce noise. Newer CFL (compact Fluorescent lights) save energy, in part, by drawing current for only 2.6 milliseconds out of every 8.33 millisecond AC half-cycle (at 60 Hertz). While the power consumption is reduced the net effect is to introduce corruption into the AC sine wave (since it's only being called on to yield up power for roughly 31% of each cycle.)

 

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Power and Surge Protection
Equipment and Software Details

Power and surge protection is provided at a number of points in the overall equipment infrastructure:

  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Protection
    • A standard UPS provides basic noise and surge protection as well as switching to battery backup during a power outage or over/under voltage condition. Under normal operation, a standard UPS presents conditioned line voltage to the protected devices and only switches to the battery during a power failure. Some level of noise and transient voltage is able to get through the UPS filters and the battery power is typically a "square wave" (as opposed to the desired "sine wave") which, while suitable for many applications, is not a complete solution.
    • A Line Isolation UPS completely separates the AC power line from the equipment. The equipment is constantly powered by a pure sine wave output from the UPS and no noise or transient line voltage can get through to the protected equipment. While slightly more expensive than a standard UPS, a Line Isolation UPS provides maximum equipment protection and is recommended, particularly in industrial or rural environments where power line noise or disruption may be more common.
  • Redundant UPS Transfer Switch Protection
    • To eliminate the single point-of-failure that exists when core equipment is connected through one UPS in the wiring closet or rack, a Transfer Switch can be used to allow two separate UPS units to provide hot-failover protection. If the primary UPS completely fails (due to age, manufacturer defect, or other unexpected reason) the Transfer Switch automatically uses the backup UPS and then sends a notification to the support team for problem resolution.
  • Ethernet Surge Suppressor Protection
    • A long run of Ethernet cable acts like an antenna, picking up electromagnetic energy from the environment. Broadcast radio and television, nearby airport radar, vehicle communication radios, power lines and other sources of electromagnetic interference (EMI) introduce transient voltage into the Ethernet cable itself. A lightning storm within 5 miles will absolutely introduce voltage into the cable that is powerful enough to immediately destroy the Ethernet circuitry in the switch, router or server to which the cable is connected. An Ethernet surge protector drains these dangerous voltage spikes off to the ground, protecting the connected equipment. For very long, outdoor Ethernet runs (like those connecting a roof-mounted radio to a switch in a wiring closet) it's often advisable to use two protectors: one at the radio itself and a second inside the building just ahead of the switch, router or server. Induced transient voltages can travel up the cable to the radio or down the cable to the wiring closet so using two Ethernet surge protectors addresses both concerns.
  • Cable Modem Surge Suppressor Protection
    • In the same way that electromagnetic spikes can enter the wiring closet through outdoor runs of Ethernet cable, when coaxial cable is used to connect a cable modem (used as the Internet connection) it, too, needs protection. A Cable Modem Surge Suppressor provides that protection.
  • Power Cycle Equipment for Uptime Assurance
    • If, for any reason, a piece of equipment stops responding one of the first troubleshooting steps is to reboot it. A Power Cycle unit monitors the status of a piece of equipment or a wireless link and automatically power cycles the equipment it stops responding. This eliminates the need for an on-site technician to reboot the equipment and greatly speeds up the recovery from a problem if only a simply reboot is needed.
EQUIPMENT FOR POWER AND SURGE PROTECTION
   

780W Utility-Class Unmanaged UPS [M22043]    $199.00
Connect802 recommends using this unit to protect Ethernet switches in the wiring closet.

 

500W Standard UPS with Remote Management Option [D90891]   $299.00
Connect802 recommends using this unit with the Remote Management Option to protect a wireless LAN controller
and its associated Ethernet switch and/or router in environments where severe power line problems are not anticipated (i.e. office buildings, hospitals, schools, etc.)

 

Remote Management Adapter for 500W UPS (Above) $249.00

  • For Web-based, SSL, SSH, SNMP and Telnet monitoring, management and remote power-cycle capabilities add the APC Remote Management Adapter [BC3030] Requires Configuration and Integration
   

600W Line Isolation UPS with Web Remote Management Option [K63670]   $399.00

Connect802 recommends using this unit with the Remote Management Option to protect a wireless LAN controller, an access gateway and the associated Ethernet switch and/or router whenever maximum protection is required or power line problems may occur (i.e. marinas, military bases, campgrounds, thunderstorm-prone areas, etc.)

 

Remote Management Adapter for 600W Line Isolation UPS (Above) $219.00

  • For Web-based (and SNMP) remote monitoring, management and remote power-cycle capabilities add the Tripp Lite Remote Management Adapter [F75582] Requires Configuration and Integration
   

1050W Line Isolation UPS with Full TCP/IP Remote Management Option
[E77654]     $979.00

 

Remote Management Adapter for 1050W Line Isolation UPS (Above) $249.00

  • For Web-based, SSL, SSH, SNMP and Telnet monitoring, management and remote power-cycle capabilities add the APC Remote Management Adapter [BC3030] Requires Configuration and Integration
   

Redundant UPS Power Transfer Switch $595.00

Connect802 recommends the use of two UPS power supplies and this UPS Transfer Switch when the failure of a single UPS power supply would be a critical single point-of-failure. If the primary UPS fails the Transfer Switch automatically begins sourcing power from the secondary UPS with seamless transfer time

   

CAT5e/CAT6 Ethernet Lightning Surge Protector
[CAT6HPJW]  $75.00 / $65.00 2 or more  

 

Cable Modem “Fail Safe” Surge Suppressor  [516350]  $30.00

 

NP02 Automatic Power Cycle / Reboot Unit $210.00

  • Event logging with Email and SNMP notification
 
At Connect802 - We've Got You Covered!

Targeted Discussion

You'll find numerous Web references relating to power and surge protection. Below are some targeted discussions to provide you with additional perspective.