19 November 2008

Do I Need Lightning and Surge Protection?

That was what I concerned when first building my Cisco home lab. I never concerned about this before since I only had my laptop, couple of PCs and the good old Linksys networking devices.

No matter what devices I have, I should have installed some lightning and surge protection for any electronic devices I have.

Lightning, power surges and spikes are the main enemy of electronic devices. Lightning can cause a major power surge and spike, meaning when a lightning strikes it causes a brief huge power spike which can reach a spike of 50 million volts, it's brief but deadly.

And not only surges from lightning, if you live in some old neighborhood, sometimes the electrician didn't do their work very well or perhaps the electrical installation is too old so power surges and spikes can happen any time.

Knowing this I immediately bought a power surge protector, it's a surge protector from Belkin and I use it to protect only my networking devices.

But you you never know, I only concerned about surges and spikes from electrical line, I forgot about the line that is coming from my internet cable.

About three days ago lightning stroke, I don't know where, it doesn't have to strike your home directly, it can strike your neighbor home some miles away and it can still get to you.

One lightning strike, one cable modem, one Phillips LCD TV, one computer, and one CATV splitter are dead. Warranty available for the modem and TV thank God.
Luckily my Cisco devices are okay, thanks to the power surge protector I think.

Man it was a nightmare, one big thunder and suddenly everything was down, the lights, computers, everything.
All suddenly dark, I spotted a spark somewhere, a large cracking sound, and everyone just went aaahhhhh.
Even the computers when turned on after a while, the NICs were not working for some times, luckily they do now.
Yet my laptop still mute, the speaker and some usb ports are dead.

So the moral of this story, buy some lightning and surge protectors, at least they provide protection to some degree.
You can also buy surge protectors that provide phone line protection for DSL connection or coaxial for your cable internet connection.

What about UPS, some UPS also provide lightning and surge protection, well I prefer to have both.
Plug in the surge protector first to the electric outlet and then the UPS goes to the surge protector.
And remember to buy them from a reputable vendors like APC or other brands, they cost more indeed but no doubt about the qualities.

If you don't want to buy them then the best protection when dealing with lightning strike in your home is to turn off all the devices and unplug all the power cables when it's raining heavy.

Hope this experience of mine won't happen to you.