• 28/Sept, 2018

6 Common Mistakes to avoid in Telecom Technology Grounding: Electrical Safety Rules

All electrical systems and communication cabling systems are required to be grounded.       This is required to provide a reliable means to safely conduct the voltages imposed by lighting, line surges, or unintentional contact with high voltage lines or equipment to ground. Similarly, telecommunication networks and equipment should be grounded to the electrical service. However, simply grounding to structural steel is not enough when dealing with telecommunication systems. The sensitivity of the electronic equipment requires that the telecommunications cabling and power be effectively equalised to prevent loops or transients that can damage the equipment. This means designing a complete grounding and bonding system that goes beyond the basic methodology.

Surge protection failures are costly. It leads to damage or destruction of expensive technology, downtime as well as customer dissatisfaction. Most companies, educational institutes, hospital, commercial complexes or any networked building, house valuables and sensitive telecommunication equipment. A good quality surge-protection technology is a must to ensure that external surges cannot damage their equipment. True surge protection begins from the ground up. Not even top-of-the-line surge protectors can protect valuable and sensitive telecom equipment if the protector is not properly grounded.

The following six grounding mistakes are responsible for a vast majority of surge-protection failures:

Incorrect Impedance

When technicians instal a surge protector- they use an impedance of not more than 8 to 15 ohms. However, for the protection of sensitive digital telecom equipment used to send and receive data or voice, such as computers, phones, Ethernet Voice over IP, T1/E1, ISDL and DSL, installers should make sure there are common grounding and ground potential of less than 1 ohm-ideally less than 0.5 ohm.

Wrapping Ground Wire

Many installers bring lengthier than required cabling and end up often coiling the additional wire. Coiling the wire significantly increases resistance and can lead to malfunctioning surge protection and profoundly impacting the effectiveness of the surge-protection technology.

As a rule of thumb, not only should cable never be coiled, it should always be installed in as straight a manner as possible. Any minor bends or loops can add dangerous resistance.

Size of Wire

The thicker the wire gauge, the lower its resistance, which is good as lower resistance allows for the unhindered transmission of the surge to the ground. Selecting which gauge of wire that will not only meet your needs today- but even when more advanced technologies will likely need to be added to your grounding platform. It is always better to instal a thicker gauge wire to ensure that your technology is well grounded today and in the years ahead as well.

Incorrect Way of Wire Connections

The wire used to connect the electric copper ground rod to the telecommunications room common busbar needs to be securely tied down with a spade or ring lug. If the joints in the grounding setup are not fastened tightly enough, extra resistance, known as contact resistance, is generated; it can reduce the effectiveness of surge-protection equipment.

Technology Selection

It is crucial to identify a technology that minimises the chances for installation errors to occur. It is important that your surge connector comes with all of the hardware necessary for proper grounding so that precisely the correct parts are used by the installer. Also, look for technologies that minimise the need to do additional grounding when new technologies are added.

Lack of a Single Grounding Point

Protector ground and all other equipment grounds that are being protected must be connected to a “single common ground point.” A single ground point balances the ground resistance. If more than one single common ground point is used, surge and lighting can travel from one ground point through the equipment to the other ground point. This process is called “ground loop” and can damage the equipment.

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